Chapter 23: Explanations
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“Who are they?” Was the first thing that came from Wei Caihong’s mouth when they all got home. Master Wang had split and went home himself. And Nikola was standing in the dimly lit entrance of his house with Penemue and Ryota. Some of his neighbors had been woken up by them banging on the door and had come out to watch. Wei Caihong was calm, for now, but Nikola knew he would flip when he found out the truth.

“Can we get inside first, my Ebony?” Nikola gently took Wei Caihong by his hand and he made a couple of steps back.

“Your Ebony? Why don’t you have a nickname for me as well?” Said Penemue as she made to enter the house with their son in tow.

“Why should he? Who are you?” Said Wei Caihong, then he took a closer look at Penemue and finally noticed her blue eyes. He sucked in a breath and twisted in Nikola’s arms to slap him.

“I am pregnant and you bring this wretch to our home?” He screamed. A woman from three houses down oh’ed and moved closer towards them to hear everything. She was the village gossip and she was almost certain the mysterious beauty was the lady Pen.

“I can explain but we need to send my son off to the other children and get inside. You can hit me as much as you want once we are inside.” He said as Wei Caihong raised his hand for another slap, stopping midair.

“Congratulations on your pregnancy, Wei Caihong. He won’t be leaving you anymore.” Said Penemue with a smirk. Wei Caihong looked at the boy who waved at her. He was the perfect mix between Nikola and Penemue and Wei Caihong wanted to scream in frustration. Just how had this happened?

“Fine, let’s go inside. You two have a lot of explaining to do. What is your name, kid?” He said addressing Ryota who smiled at him and blushed.

“Ryota, auntie.” Then he looked between Penemue and Wei Caihong and whispered under his nose. “Pa has pretty mates, but auntie is prettier than Ma.” He received a tug to the ear by a disgruntled Penemue and a triumphant smile from Wei Caihong. Darn right he was better looking than Penemue, the other woman was two meters tall and too muscular by far. If it wasn’t for her big bosom then Wei Caihong would have thought that the angel was just keeping up the illusion of her gender.

Wei Caihong gripped Nikola’s hand, least he went by Penemue’s side. When they entered the house, they made a detour to Wei Zhaohui and Han Shanyuan’s room and left Ryota there to sit on a chair with the order to be quiet. But he turned into a fox kit as soon as the door was closed and jumped into Han Shanyuan’s bed to snuggle with him, fortunately not waking him up.

Once in the dining room Wei Caihong felt a wash of magic envelop the room.

“So we don’t wake up the children.” Said Nikola as he sat down on a cushion by the table.

“I am pregnant, Nikola! And you bring back Penemue when I send you off to mark a jade deposit. Did you even get that done?”

“I did. And I have never seen a bigger deposit in my life. Madam Wu is going to be happy…”

“Why did you bring her back?” Screamed Wei Caihong, pointing at Penemue who was smirking by Nikola’s side. He was sandwiched between them and they both had their arms hooked around him. This was going to be so good if Wei Caihong wasn’t this angry.

“I made a mistake; I know that now…” Penemue dug her nails into his arm but his robes prevented her from drawing blood. He had found her robes that mostly fit, both inner and outer robes. But there was still something sensual about her. She pressed her chest next to his arm and rubbed them against it. Wei Caihong responded by releasing Nikola’s arm and climbing into his lap. They were both marking their territory and if he was lucky after the explanation, he would take them both to bed.

“Try again.” Said Penemue who watched the smirking Wei Caihong. But Penemue was too tall to sit in Nikola’s lap, so she leaned further into him and rested her head on his shoulder.

“I missed her. And I had the means to bring her back. But there are some things you need to know.” And then Nikola begun to explain Ryota’s origins, omitting the bloody details and laying the blame for him not remembering he had ever been a woman at Rin’s feet. Penemue didn’t correct him. She was eyeing Wei Caihong and as he was finishing, she reached out a hand and brushed her fingers against Wei Caihong’s lips. That made Wei Caihong snap his teeth as if to bite but Penemue retracted her fingers at the last minute.

“Don’t touch me!” Snapped Wei Caihong as he cuddled into Nikola.

“You took what was mine.” Said Penemue as she leaned in again and released Nikola to wrap her arms around Wei Caihong. “And now I will take you both. Soulmates are always delicious together.”

“I’m not sleeping with you.”

“There won’t be any sleeping involved. How did Nikola call you? Ah, yes. My Ebony.” Penemue purred the last part and Wei Caihong tried to get off Nikola’s lap but Nikola wrapped his arms around him and lifted him bridal style.

“I think I did enough explaining. It is time you two got to know each other.” Said Nikola as he headed towards the bedroom, Penemue following him and brushed her hands over Wei Caihong’s legs every so often.

“I am your husband! You will not share me with your mistress!” Wei Caihong hissed the last part but Nikola didn’t care. Penemue had handed him over to Wei Caihong and Wei Caihong had said once he wanted Penemue for himself. Even if it was done in an attempt to make him jealous Nikola hadn’t forgotten. He wanted these two gorgeous women on their backs so he could show them that contrary to what they both believed he was the man of this family. The father of their children. And they will stop playing their games with him or so help him.

He opened the door to the bedroom and then made the last few steps to the bed, depositing the blushing Wei Caihong on it. Penemue closed the door and climbed next to Wei Caihong, disrobing him with deft fingers while kissing up and down his neck. Then just as Nikola was going to join in the door to his bedroom opened and in came Han Shanyuan with a fox kit in his arms.

“Master Nikola, I found this in my bed. What do I do with…oh.” Han Shanyuan blushed and Ryota wriggled in his arms to see what got his warm perch so flustered. Then the fox turned into a boy and he got off Han Shanyuan’s arms and tugged at his sleeve.

“Come on, they are mating. I will have many brothers and sisters after this.” Said the boy in a knowledgeable tone as Han Shanyuan stared at him.

“Weren’t you just…?”

“Let’s go eat something. Where do you keep your meat, big brother?” The children were out of the room then and Nikola collapsed on top of Wei Caihong with a groan.

“Now I am no longer in the mood for it.” He said with a whine. Watching Penemue ravaging Wei Caihong had been the hottest thing he had ever seen. And now he was caught by his children and had to explain himself to them.

“Go do damage control. I am still in the mood and I will pluck this delicate flower.” Said Penemue as she begun to rub Wei Caihong’s small breasts. She tugged at a nipple and Wei Caihong moaned loudly.

“Don’t you dare leave me with this demon!” Said Wei Caihong as he tried to distance himself from Penemue but he was held down by Nikola’s weight so he couldn’t move by much.

“I am an angel of the Lord…”

“You are the biggest slut I have ever met. And I used to have concubines, so I should know!”

“Nikola didn’t complain when he took me at the lake’s shores and then again inside of it. And neither will you.”

“He did what?” Nikola felt the magic washing out of Wei Caihong and he was quick to stand up. His spot was taken by Penemue who smirked down at Wei Caihong.

“He got me pregnant with three sons. He is quite the stallion for someone who is a thousand years old, is he not?” Said Penemue as she begun to rock her hips. Nikola could smell something sweet in the air and then he shook his head. He had fallen for the aphrodisiac spell more than once himself. Wei Caihong was getting laid no matter what he said.

“He did it with magic.” Retorted Wei Caihong and Nikola felt a blow to his pride then.

“He shouldn’t have been able to produce any children, yet he got us both with triplets.” Penemue traced her fingers down and begun to rub between Wei Caihong’s tights. “Magic had little to do with it.”

Nikola really wanted to stay and watch the show but just the thought of how much trouble his children could get up to now that they were confused made him stand up and regretfully close the door behind himself. Then he was off to the kitchen. He saw Han Shanyuan stare at Ryota as the boy was happily eating raw meat, blood dripping down his chin.

“Master Nikola, what is he?” Asked Han Shanyuan and Nikola took the platter with the meat away from Ryota and placed it back in his frozen cupboard.

“I was eating that!” Snapped Ryota between bites. Then he swallowed the rest of the meat as if he expected for Nikola to snatch it away too.

“Han Shanyuan, this is Ryota. He is a kitsune.”

“A demon?” Han Shanyuan paled and backed away from Ryota who looked at him with a hurt expression.

“You are my friend. I told you already I’ll eat you last.” Said Ryota and Han Shanyuan screamed.

“I thought you were joking to get me to get out the meat faster!” Said Han Shanyuan. A sleepy Wei Zhaohui entered the room with Han Fengfan in his arms.

“You two woke her up. I barely stopped her from crying. Who is he?” He said, nodding at Ryota.

“My son by the lady Pen, Ryota.” Said Nikola as he placed an arm on Ryota’s shoulder. “He is a kitsune.”

“Zhaohui, get Fengfan away from here and run. Master Nikola has gone insane!” Yelled Han Shanyuan and Han Fengfan stirred and begun to cry. Ryota jumped and reached Wei Zhaohui in a couple of quick steps. He reached out and grabbed the bundle of the little girl and then he smiled as he inhaled her scent.

“Pa, you had my mate all along!”

Nikola rouse and picked up Han Fengfan from Ryota’s arms. Could it be that they were soulmates? But Ryota grew a year a century. By the time he grew enough to get married Han Fengfan would be long dead. He told that to Ryota and the kitsune smiled.

“Ok, I’ll start growing then.” He said and then he became taller. As tall as Penemue and he reached out towards the baby, his robes having ripped from his fast growth.

“Now it’s your turn, mate.” He said to the bundle and Han Fengfan gurgled at him.

“Ryota, she is a human. She can’t grow so fast. Can you turn back into your former form?”

“A human?” Asked Ryota dejected. Humans weren’t long lived. But he could sense the power rolling off his mate. He turned back into a three-year-old and reached out his hands for the bundle. “Pa, you’ll make her immortal like auntie. Won’t you?”

“Wait, what?” Asked Han Shanyuan who suddenly felt very worried about his sister’s future. But it got Nikola thinking. Since Ryota and Han Fengfan were soulmates Nikola could make sure that Ryota shared his immortality and demonic nature. And if he did then he wouldn’t be able to turn into a fox ever again. He placed a hand over Ryota and kneeled next to him.   

“Ryota, repeat after me:

On this day I pledge my love.”

“No way!” Said a panicked Han Shanyuan who could feel something going out of Ryota and flowing towards his sister. “She is just a baby. You are not marrying her to your demonic son!” Nikola sighed and forced both Han Shanyuan and Wei Zhaohui to fall asleep. Ryota placed a hand over Han Fengfan and grinned as he repeated the words.

“And I swear that until my death I will take no other for a wife.” Said Nikola and Ryota stared at him with a raised eyebrow. Nikola scowled at him. Ok maybe he wasn’t the best example for a traditional married man, what with two spouses, but he wanted something better for his son.

“Repeat it.” He said sternly and Ryota did so with a pout.

“And should she ever fade away, I swear by my soul, that so shall I.”

This time Ryota repeated without a protest. This was a little failsafe Nikola made for Han Fengfan’s sake. He loved his son, truly, he did. But Ryota was a kitsune and he had done unspeakable things for three hundred years, or at least for the better part of three hundred years. He needed motivation to protect his soulmate.

“Pa, hand her over. I’ll sing to her now to complete the mating.” Said Ryota. Nikola remembered Rin trying to sing to him on more than one occasion and him refusing. The spell was in place. There was no harm in this. He handed the baby to Ryota and he begun to hum and rock her back and forth. It was an adorable ending to a wedding. Then Nikola sort of become guilty. He had given Bjorn a choice in whatever he wanted to be with Azazel but had robbed Han Fengfan of the same. It better be worth it.

He took the girl from Ryota’s hands as he stopped humming and then he turned to his son.

“Ryota, try turning into a fox.” Ryota inhaled a breath and then puffed up his cheeks, but nothing happened. It had worked.

“Pa, am I a human now?”

“You are.” Said Nikola. He hugged his son and waved his fingers to wake the other two boys.

“I want my sister back!” Said Han Shanyuan as he stood up. Wei Zhaohui looked nervously at his father who handed Han Fengfan to Ryota instead.

“Children, I need to tell you something. But you must keep it a secret. If you let it slip to anyone I will be in danger.”

“Why should I do anything for you when you married my baby sister to a demon?” Yelled Han Shanyuan and Nikola winced. A very valid reason not to trust him anymore.

“Because I can make you forget the marriage with a bloody ritual where someone will have to die. Now, are you ready to listen?”

Han Shanyuan didn’t want a life to weight at his consciousness so he sat down and remained silent.

“Boys, I am the Emerald Emperor of Atlantis and…”

“No way!” Yelled Han Shanyuan, looking between the door and Ryota who still had his sister.

“Oh, so that’s how you survived the flood that sunk Atlantis, Papa.” Said Wei Zhaohui. He had always wondered about this.

“Who is that?” Asked Ryota. Everyone looked at him strangely then Han Shanyuan cleared his throat.

“Your father is an evil man that killed millions when he decided to cause a flood just to sink his power base. And he killed many before that too when he was conquering the world.”

“You rule the world, Pa? I am a prince? Do you hear that, mate? You are a princess now!” Han Fengfan gurled again and then yawned and closed her eyes. Ryota kissed her hair and then in a show of good will he handed her back to her brother. Han Shanyuan hugged her close to himself and checked her for any wounds. He breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t see any.

“Had I not sunk Atlantis, Pallas would have ruled with an iron fist. He was stronger than both I and my consort Penemue. Fortunately, the ocean was enough to end him. I make no excuses for my past deeds. But all of you should know that I love you very much and that I will never hurt you. And when your siblings, both Penemue’s and Wei Caihong’s triplets, come to the world in nine months we will be one big, happy family. Together with Basil and Bjorn and their daughter, of course.”

“Basil is not Basil at all, is he?” Said Wei Zhaohui and then he looked down.

“I know there was an Atlantean prince by the name of Bjorn, the son of the Viking woman Freia. But he was the soulmate of the angel Azazel. And he committed suicide.”

Nikola wondered from where did Wei Zhaohui knew that much but he nodded to confirm.

“You can raise the dead?” Asked Han Shanyuan hopefully. “Then, my parents…”

“I’m sorry.” Said Nikola. “But cheating Death is exclusively the right of angels. I will end up causing a plague on the land if I tried.”

“That’s not fair!” Han Shanyuan was crying then. How come he couldn’t bring back his parents but Bjorn got a second chance? If he could only bring back his mother than he would be eternally grateful.

“There are rules even for me. The last time I tried to bring back someone on my own there was a volcanic eruption and Atlantis was nearly wiped off the map. Azazel used up his one chance for Bjorn. And Penemue did the same for Ryota.”

His memories were vague of that time but Ryota was almost mince meat when Penemue had begun to place him inside Rin’s womb. His immortality couldn’t have taken root or else he would have regenerated as fast as Nikola did. No, Penemue had defied Death and fixed her mistake. And then she had swiped everything under the rug and pretended to be happy with Pallas for a son out of the guilt she was feeling for Ryota.

“I died?” Asked Ryota. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. He remembers warriors tearing at his limbs and bigger demons eating from him. And yet he had always brushed it off.

“You were a stillborn.” Lied Nikola smoothly. He had said too much. He didn’t want for Ryota to hate Penemue. Those two needed a second chance to be together.

“But I can never die again, can I?” Asked Ryota concerned. Nikola pointed at Han Fengfan.

“For as long as she doesn’t fade away. It is what you swore during the wedding.” Ryota looked at him with a betrayed expression and then spoke.

“Han Shanyuan is right. You are evil.”

Nikola blinked and then he reached out to pat his son on the head. Ryota moved away from him and hid behind Han Shanyuan who was looking at him with disbelief.

“You will protect and love your soulmate.” Commanded Nikola. Yes, he was evil, but there was also a flicker of goodness in him. And kitsunes were demons. Ryota should never be allowed to show his ugly side to Han Fengfan. Even if it meant his death. He closed his eyes and counted to three, when he opened them, he saw four children huddled together, three of them staring at him with fear.

So, this chapter is a little bit short but I have planned a Ghost Liar for the next chapter. One last thing before the Wei family left the village to go to the next one for the essay competition. I tried to search for a map of the Han Empire but so far, I only know the capital: Chang’an and some towns leading up to it. So, I will be using a fantasy name generator’s help in naming the villages leading up to it. You can find the map here:

The Wei family will be starting at Danyang.