OMF V1C23 Spice Things Up

“Your … Your Majesty.” Shun Tao gulped again and slowly lifted his head. He didn’t even spare a glance at the man next to the Heavenly Emperor and instead focused all his attention on that serious face.
Oh no, it’s over. He knows. Or even if he doesn’t know, he will soon.
Shun Tao lightly coughed and stood up from the ground, switching into a proper bow. Cold sweat grazed his brow. “Fate’s scribe, Shun Tao, greets His Majesty, Tianjun.”
“Mn.” The Heavenly Emperor motioned for him to get up, then nodded towards the courtyard. “Fate’s scribe, what are you doing here?” His lips still twitched, trying to raise into a grin. But, ah, he should try to uphold his mighty image.
“I …” Shun Tao’s gaze wavered. He couldn’t let the Heavenly Emperor find out the real reason. “I am looking … for … new recruits.”
“New recruits? Does the scribe’s palace lack people?”
“Er … no, Your Majesty. We are currently not lacking anyone. I just … Well, I thought it would be better to have a look now just in case there might be a need in the future.”
The Heavenly Emperor nodded. “That is quite commendable.”
“Then …,” interjected the man next to him who was none other than the God of War, Qiang Yan. “Why were you …” He searched for a harmless way to formulate his question. “Why were you doing it like this?”
“Er … I … of course, I can’t be seen! I have to monitor them while they feel unobserved. Only like that can I bring to light how they’ll work in the future. They’d certainly only show me their good side if they knew I was here.”
The Heavenly Emperor nodded. That was indeed a good idea. Just that the implementation was a little … unsightly. Considering Shun Tao’s good intentions, he decided to forget about the incident.
“Speaking of your work: How is our son faring in the mortal realm?” The Heavenly Emperor’s gaze grew a little softer.
Shun Tao gulped. Here it came … “His Highness …” What to do? Lie? Tell the truth? “The crown prince …” He hadn’t found even the tiniest clue until now! He could beg forgiveness but would he get it? Of course not! Everyone knew of His Majesty’s temper! Everyone knew how much he loved his son! A head would be rolling if he said the truth! “He … is faring extremely well, of course.” Oh heaven, had his voice quivered right now? Had the Heavenly Emperor been able to tell something was up? Had he known beforehand and was just testing him?
“Ahahaha, as expected of our precious son!” Rong Su laughed and ran his hand over his beard. Mn, his wife had been right. He shouldn’t worry about Jing He so much. A boy as outstanding as his son would naturally be able to accomplish such a puny trial without any complications.
Shun Tao observed the Heavenly Emperor’s expression. He doesn’t seem like … he wants to question me? Shun Tao relaxed but just at this moment, the Heavenly Emperor looked up again. Shun Tao tensed again.
“That’s right. It has been three days since then. That equals to three years in the mortal realm. His first trial should have passed? What is he doing right now?”
“Er …” Shun Tao slid his hand into his sleeve, grabbing the scroll of fate with quivering fingers. He took it out, unfurled it and had a look. The words greeting him surprised him so much that he blurted the first ones right out. “Girls are —” He bit down on his tongue to hold himself back.
Disgusting creatures?! I’ve been looking at the possible recruits the whole time since morning! How did the fate go off track again?! And by this much, even?
“Girls are …?” prompted the Heavenly Emperor.
Shun Tao laughed without any humor. “Girls are swarming him already. Even as a mortal His Highness just can’t hide his great charm. Hahaha.”
“As expected of …” The Heavenly Emperor was about to praise his son again but then remembered what he himself had just said. “Ah, isn’t he only three years old at the moment? What personal charm? What girls? Shouldn’t his trial of love only happen at the later stages of his life?”
Shun Tao furled the scroll of fate again and hurriedly stuffed it into his sleeve. A lot of characters had been missing again. He couldn’t risk that the Heavenly Emperor took a look himself. “That … that is indeed true. It’s just that … you know, children. First love is something … something so defining. And His Highness is such an outstanding man. I felt that … the fate I had previously written for his trial didn’t do him enough justice so I … I added … a little something, you know, to … to … spice things up … a little. Your Majesty.”
The Heavenly Emperor’s eyebrows lifted. “Spice things up? For a three-year-old?”
Shun Tao nodded solemnly. “One can never start too early.”
Qiang Yan furrowed his brow. “I hope you won’t mind me asking, Shun Tao, but … I’m an uncultured man and therefore can’t seem to follow. Why would you do something like that?”
“That …” Shun Tao gulped. Hadn’t he just made that up on the spot? Why did the God of War have to ask? Now he had to make up something else again! “Uh, it’s like this: First love is more memorable than any other. So, I felt that using first love in addition to the already prepared love trial might be a greater challenge for His Highness. A man as outstanding as him would certainly not lose his way because of just any love trial. Even a prepared fate can’t change his special character considering it is still his immortal soul that is experiencing this mortal life.”
The Heavenly Emperor nodded, satisfied with this evaluation of his son. “That is indeed true.”
Qiang Yan nodded too but he wasn’t that convinced. Was all of that really necessary? But that was Shun Tao’s task so he didn’t have to understand. He would just settle for this answer. He instead looked at the Heavenly Emperor, asking through his eyes if they should go.
Rong Su gave a curt nod but still spoke to Shun Tao. “Fate’s scribe, if you want to have those gods monitored, have some personnel assigned to the task. There is no need to bother yourself with that.”
Shun Tao nodded and bowed when the Heavenly Emperor turned to go. The two men strode away. Shun Tao heaved a sigh of relief and took a last look at the possible recruits before turning away himself. He wouldn’t be able to achieve anything on his own here. He really needed someone else to do the task.
A little distance away, the Heavenly Emperor halted and turned toward Qiang Yan. “The Fate’s Scribe seemed a little nervous.”
Qiang Yan nodded. “Well, that is to be expected. He was seen in quite an … unsightly situation. He was probably afraid it would cast a slur on him.”
“Mn, that might very well be the reason. I’m probably just overly anxious about Jing He’s fate.”
“I could send somebody to monitor him.”
“Jing He would certainly not mind but it’s his trial, after all. Even if something goes wrong, we shouldn’t do something about it. There would be no reason for such a trial if we did everything for him.”
“He certainly won’t have any problem passing this trial.”
“I think so, too. Jing He …” The Heavenly Emperor sighed. “We never had any problems with him.”
“Mn, actually, I think this will be a good thing for him. He’s too calm. He needs to experience a little disaster.”
The Heavenly Sovereign nodded but he probably wouldn’t have done so if he knew just how much of a disaster his son’s mortal fate had already become.
The two men continued on their way without sending somebody down into the mortal realm. But the Heavenly Emperor didn’t discard the thought. He merely shelved it for later when his son had weathered his first conscious trial.
It certainly couldn’t be wrong for a father to make sure that his son was doing alright. He wouldn’t interfere. He would just send someone to take a look. Mn, he had to do so. He didn’t want Jing He to think that he didn’t care. He cared very, very much. Actually, he still preferred sending someone right this instant.

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