(Yang Mi as Mei Yan) (Hauwick Lau as Wu Kang)
A beautiful woman stood on the edge of a light green lake, surrounded by tall mountains and windblown pines. She tossed silk threads into the air, her green robes whipping around her by the strong winds. The green threads writhed and turned, splitting into millions of strands, each attaching to a blade of grass, renewing the color of the entire field and beyond. Blue-green threads colored the lake while thousands of different color strands sank into the air and ground.
Mei Yan smiled as the last of the silk was sewn into the sky. The Jade Rabbit appeared, “Is this the last of it? We’ve been here for nearly a year” The other girl nodded, and the the Jade Rabbit sighed, “Go be with your human, cherish the last day you have with him. And keep your promise.” Mei Yan came over and hugged the other girl. With a flash she was gone.
On the grassy plains of Zhong Yuan, a rugged man ridding a dirt red horse turned to face the east. He grinned and spurred his horse.
“Warlord. Where are you going?” his friend called after him, Wu Kang seemed to be ridding for all he was worth. The man said nothing, he had always seemed to disappear for a few days around this time of year. His men sighed, their leader was peculiar, but he was a good man.
Mei Yan arrived at the oasis before the sun dropped into the earth, the tall grass blew furiously around her as she walked to the little resting spot. The sky was like liquid gold mixed within the river blue, stretch as far as the eye could see. Wu Kang waited for her underneath a little pagoda made of rough clay and straw, staring at her as if he couldn’t bare look away. His eyes seemed to grow brighter as the girl in green walked closer, her robes blew like dancing leaves. To him there was nothing more magnificently heart-wrenching than the sight before him.
“You’re beautiful.” He breathed as approached her. Mei Yan came close and touched the light crows’ feet at the corner of his piercing eyes, the few silver strands that had began to grow at his temples. He caught her hand and kissed the heart of her palm, breathing in her fragrant scent. They stood there, enjoying the unspoken familiarity between them. Ten years had passed and yet as they stood, it was as if they had never parted.
“You’re as young as the day I met you.” Wu Kang touched her porcelain cheek, “Here I am, an old man.” An arrow went through Mei Yan’s heart, she wanted to grow old with him, to hold hands with him like this for the rest of their lives.
“Nonsense, you still have a long life a head of you.”
Wu Kang threw his head back and laughed, “Remember the first day we met?” Mei Yan’s lips curved into a brilliant smile, “Yes. You stole my clothes.”
“I was drying them for you.” He teased
“After you dumped them into the river.” Mei Yan pointed out, “I had to weave robes out of grass.”
Wu Kang took her hands, “That was the day i fell for you.”
Wu Kang gently cupped Mei Yan’s face and kissed her forehead, “All these years of waiting, I thought you would forget me.” He held her hand in his, thoroughly content with the moment. Mei Yan felt the heat of his skin against her cheeks, “I wish you would forget me.” There were tears in her eyes, she pressed her face into his chest. Wu Kang felt bewildered, “What is it, love?” He had never seen Mei Yan cry, not even when he had accidentally seen her bathing in the forest, the first time they met. He tilted her chin and gently wiped the tears with his sleeve.
“You keep waiting for me.” She cried, “You’re forty now and yet I keep you waiting. Wu Kang, please, I can’t do this to you anymore.”
Wu Kang smiled, relieved, “Is that all?” for a painful moment he had thought she was going to tell him that she had fallen for someone else. He held her, his lips in her hair and murmured, “Even if I only get to see you once in fifty years, I would still do it in a heartbeat.”
She pushed him away, “I know you come here every year, even when I’m not here. I know you refuse to take a wife, even though you are the chief of your tribe.” She took a breathe, “I want you to stop suffering for me. I want you to be happy.”
Wu Kang’s eyes flashed, he wasn’t a man to be pushed around, even if it was by a deity, “I have never suffered because of you.” He walked closer to her, “If I take a wife, that woman would be you.” His eyes saddened as he gestured to the field, “This is where we first kissed. I come here to remember.”
“You age and die, I don’t” Mei Yan said bitterly, hating herself for admitting it, “Your life is like a flash of lightening. If you continue loving me, you won’t have sons to remember you, daughters to sing your praises. You should marry a powerful woman who could bring you glory and honor. You could be a great king if you chose. I only hinder your legacy.”
“I never wanted to leave a mark on this earth, Mei Yan.”He was adamant, “I don’t need people to know who I am. All I need is for you to remember me.”
“I can make you forget I ever existed” Mei Yan said, it was as if some one was squeezing her heart.
Wu Kang looked into her eyes. “I would be powerless to stop you.”
She covered his eyes with her hand, about to use magic to erase even the shadow of her existence from his mind. Wu Kang gripped her wrists, “Mei Yan, you will kill me in the process.”
Mei Yan took her hands away from his face, “What do you mean?” Wu Kang wrapped his arms around her tighter, “How can you erase the way I feel for you?” Mei Yan didn’t understand, Wu Kang grinned and gently cupped her face, “When you erase your face from my mind, can you erase the emotions I feel when i kiss you?” He gently kissed her eyelids, her nose, and gently, lightly, her lips.
“Even with the best magic, you can’t take everything away.” Wu Kang continued, “If you take yourself from me, it would be like taking my heart away. All you leave is a hole. The pain alone will remind me that I’ve lost someone important”
“Someone can come take take my place,” Mei Yan said, the words that came out of her mouth tasted so sour.
Wu Kang shook his head, “If another woman smiled at me, I’ll always get the feeling someone else had smiled more beautifully and more sweetly before, even if I didn’t know who that person was.” Mei Yan felt her heart melt, as more tears came rushing out of her eyes.
“If another woman kisses me, all I will think of was that I had kissed someone more passionately long ago.” He said as he kissed her again, “And no matter what beautiful woman say or do, I was will feel that someone had come before them, saying things and doing things that was a thousand times better.” He looked at her, “No matter what woman comes into my life, I will always feel as if there was someone who came before her, they will live in your shadow .”
He looked at the plain little area, “I will come back to this place, again and again, even if i didn’t know why.” He was very calm, “I’ll be driven mad by the idea that I’ve lost something so very, very important, and I won’t stop until I find it, even when I become a ghost.”
The picture he painted was grim, the seed of fear was planted in her heart as she covered his mouth, “Please, I just want you to be happy.”
He grinned, “Seeing you is the greatest happiness a man can have. As each year I stand here, I grow more scared, scared that you would decide to not show up.”
“I only have one day.”
Wu Kang held her as if he never wanted to let her go, “I know that the world needs you, I won’t force you to stay. One day is more than enough. ”
“How can you say that?” Mei Yan’s eyes flashed with anger, “How can you not want more. A woman who can stay your side, someone to be with you forever?”
Wu Kang shrugged, “I am a warlord, my life could end tomorrow. Forever could mean ten days or ten years.” He grinned at her, “But when I die, I’ll know that I was loved by the woman that I adored, and that’s more than anything I want in the world.”
The Jade Rabbit wiped a tear from her eyes, her sword in one hand, her shield in another.
Mei Yan sensed her near by, she shielded Wu Kang, “Jade Rabbit. No. I promised you I would go back.”
“I know.” the Jade Rabbit knew the heartache Mei Yan felt, “Too bad the heavens and earths forbid your union. Mei Yan, I am sorry.”
“Did you come here to kill me?” Wu Kang asked as he stepped out from behind Mei Yan, ” I won’t give up Mei Yan without a fight.”
The Jade Rabbit twirled her blade expertly, “I came to make sure Mei Yan went back to the heavens with me.” With that, she threw a silver net on Mei Yan, instantly trapping her, immobilizing her. The Jade Rabbit leapt at Wu Kang.
Wu Kang drew his sword and blocked the blow. He had trained hard since he was young, but he had never fought a deity before. The blow brought him to his knees. The Jade Rabbit felt nothing but sorrow as she struck blow after blow.
Wu Kang fought as best as he could, and for a while he held his own. But no human could match the strength of a god. A cut appeared on his arm, then leg. Soon tiny rivers of blood ran everywhere. An hour went by, then two. Wu Kang’s arm went numb and the Jade Rabbit saw her chance.
Mei Yan screamed as the Jade Rabbit’s sword was aimed for Wu Kang’s heart. Mei Yan used all her magic and blasted her bonds apart, she threw silk around the Jade Rabbit’s arm, the sword flew out of the Jade Rabbit’s hand. Wu Kang swayed, he was heavily injured, but he refused to fall.
“Do you know if he lives, both of you will die? You’ll use every excuse to come back here. And for what? He’ll die in a few earth decades and all you’ll be in pain for god knows how long.” The Jade Rabbit asked, she glared at the man as Mei Yan ran to his side. He smiled at her wearily, “It’s only a few scratches.”
Mei Yan felt weak, she had spent all her magic on breaking the web. The Jade Rabbit cursed, “Mei Yan, you fool, is he worth all of your magic?”
Mei Yan looked into Wu Kang’s eyes and realized, “Yes. He’s worth everything.” She turned to the Jade Rabbit, “I’m not going back.” The silence roared like fire between the three people. Wu Kang shook his head, “No, Mei Yan…”
Mei Yan had made up her mind, “Jade Rabbit, you are right. It will be a few decades but that’s more time I will have with him than if I went home with you.”
“No. that’s not what I said.” The Jade Rabbit cried, bewildered.
Mei Yan put Wu Kang’s arm around her, and supported his weight, “i know. But that’s what I mean. Even if it means the Emperor find out, even if things do not work on earth, I will still be here.” Wu Kang hadn’t dare hope this would ever be the outcome, he scared that he was dreaming.
Mei Yan looked at the Jade Rabbit, “I want to be the one who grows old with him. I want to be the one that get’s to walk by his side the rest of his life.”
“I’ll drag you back to heaven.” The Jade rabbit threatened
“You can.” Mei Yan admitted, “but I’ll come back, time and time again. Then the Emperor will really know what I’m doing on earth.”
Mei Yan helped Wu Kang to sit, she told Wu Kang, “the Jade Rabbit and I need to speak alone.” Wu Kang didn’t want Mei Yan to walk away but he understood.
Mei Yan led the Jade Rabbit far from Wu Kang’s earshot, “I only need two months time from heaven, at most.” The Jade Rabbit barked a laugh, “What about your work?”
“My apprentices will do it.”
“If you are found out, you would be put to death or worse imprisoned in some pit for the rest of your life. Does this man know what you’ll sacrifice to be with him? You’ll lose your godhood for good if you live with him. ”
Mei Yan shook her head, “As long as I don’t bear him a child, I will still retain my powers. The gods sometimes forget how times passes in heaven, I’m sure I can get away with it.”
There was still doubt and refusal in the Jade Rabbit’s eyes, so Mei Yan tried another tactic, “Jade Rabbit, you grew up with me. I once saved you and begged for you in the Emperor’s court so that you may marry the demon you love. How is this different.”
The Jade Rabbit did not answer, she knew that once Mei Yan had decided, there was no going back. This was what she had feared all along, that Mei Yan would do something this foolish. This was why she wanted to kill Wu Kang. The Jade Rabbit laughed bitterly at the irony, “two months in heaven, sixty years on earth. I won’t tell anyone.” With that, the Jade Rabbit disappeared, she did not have the heart to remain anymore.
Mei Yan’s eyes filled with tears, she wasn’t quite sure if she had meant what she told the Jade Rabbit. She was not quite sure if she would ever return to heaven.