Qiang Yan returned to the city in a daze. He couldn’t believe what he had seen just now! Never mind that Li Yin had found himself a lover. How come that lover was a fallen god?! Weren’t they known to be deranged beyond repair? Getting involved with one of them was like sleeping in a nest of poisonous snakes! You were bound to get bitten and die a horrible death. He really couldn’t believe this. But it had to have gone on for a long time. Otherwise, why would Ru Zhen look so much like that fallen god? Ah, he couldn’t understand.
He roamed through the streets, not paying attention to his surroundings. He only vaguely felt that things were getting rowdy. Mn? Qiang Yan snapped out of his daze and barely evaded a woman running down the street. He raised his brows but didn’t think about it further. It was rather normal for people to hurry at a festival like this if they wanted to meet up with someone. Those young people were all exuberant at the Mei Xin festival. No wonder they were all hurrying like this.
“Is that really …”
“How could they let one of them into the capital?”
“What is he thinking?”
High-strung voices could be heard and several other women hurried past Qiang Yan. It was as if … they were fleeing from something. Or someone.
Qiang Yan frowned and made his way over to the crowd that was slowly backing off. Some people broke out of the crowd and ran away, giving those still standing and watching more space and allowed Qiang Yan a quick look.
Two people were walking down the street toward the crowd. He couldn’t see their faces, only two dark robes. His brows twitched. With the reaction of the crowd … This wouldn’t be Li Yin with his lover, would it? He stalked over and started to weave through the crowd.
Next to him, a girl pulled at the sleeve of her mother. “Mommy, why is everyone whispering? Who’s that?”
“Sh!” The mother hurriedly covered her daughter’s mouth and lowered her voice. “That’s a fallen god! They’re very dangerous!”
Qiang Yan frowned. So it was indeed true! That guy, how could he do something like this? He had always known that Li Yin didn’t care about other’s opinion but this was too much! Fallen gods were indeed dangerous. Even if he could somehow handle that guy, there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t run wild in such a crowd. A fallen god couldn’t be trusted!
“Li Yin, you —” Qiang Yan stopped dead in his tracks when the two men finally came into view.
The one on the left was a fallen god alright but he wasn’t Li Yin’s lover. And the one on the right wasn’t Li Yin either. This … this had to be a colossal joke! Was it date-a-fallen god day today?!
“Senior Xin Lan, what’s the meaning of this?!”
Xin Lan raised his brows. “The meaning of what?”
Qiang Yan opened his mouth but didn’t know what to say. In the end, he could only motion at the person next to Xin Lan.
The dragon glanced over with seeming disinterest. “That? That’s Xiang Yu. I asked him to accompany me to the Mei Xin festival.”
“You …” Qiang Yan shook his head. “Alright, whatever.” If Li Yin could do it, then this ancient dragon could do so even more. What right did he have to interfere? At the very least, he trusted in Xin Lan’s ability to keep a fallen god under control more than in Li Yin’s. Well, not that Li Yin had been so daring to bring his lover into the capital. He still had some common sense.
“Then we’ll go now.”
“Ah … Yes. Have … have a nice day.” Qiang Yan cupped his fists and fled the scene. He would just go and wait in his palace. If one of these two were to run amok, people could come and notify him. He just couldn’t stay here. What if a third one turned up? Wasn’t three times a spell? With that thought, he shook his head and left.
Xin Lan continued forward only to notice that the person that had accompanied him wasn’t following. He furrowed his brows and turned back. “What are you waiting for?”
“They’re still watching.”
“And? Just ignore them. Didn’t you want to see the festival in the capital?”
“Will we go to see the list of beauty?” Xiang Yu slowly walked up to Xin Lan and stared at his face.
“Mn. If you want to.” Xin Lan grabbed him by the arm and pulled him along. Even though he had brushed it off in front of the God of War, he also knew that it was dangerous to bring a fallen god into the capital of the Nine Heavens. It would be better if Xiang Yu didn’t leave his side.
The two of them made their way over to the square where the scribes had mounted the board with the names on the wall. Xiang Yu stopped and looked up.
“Jing He …” He tilted his head to the side. “Who’s Jing He?”
“The Son of Heaven.”
“Tian’s son is dead.”
“Not the son of the real Heaven. It’s just a title. He’s the crown prince of the Nine Heavens.”
“Oh. Then why is he in the first place?”
“Because a lot of people voted for him. Now, what do you want to do? You’ve already seen the list.”
“Where’s my name?”
Xin Lan turned to Xiang Yu with an incredulous look. “What do you mean? Your name?”
“Why isn’t my name on the list? I’m obviously the prettiest.”
“You …” Xin Lan closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “You haven’t even seen the crown prince. How can you say you’re prettier?”
Xiang Yu paused. That was true … He reached up and touched the mark between his brows. The crown prince of the Nine Heavens … He stared off into space, establishing a connection with the High Heavens. An image slowly formed in front of his eyes. A young man with inky black hair. His lips showed a gentle, rose-colored smile in front of his jade skin. Even his dark eyes seemed to radiate happiness.
Xiang Yu lowered his hand and the image faded. “He’s really pretty.” He paused and pursed his lips. “I still think I deserve to be on that list.” With that, he strode to the closest table.
The scribe behind it looked up with a smile but it froze as soon as he saw the black mark between Xiang Yu’s eyebrows. He didn’t even manage to ask for the name he wanted to have written down.
“A … Ah?” The scribe barely made a sound.
Xin Lan frowned and walked over, trying to pull Xiang Yu away. Unfortunately, the fallen god refused to leave.
He stared at the scribe with gloomy eyes. “Xiang Yu. I want you to record my name for the list.”
“Your … name?” The scribe glanced at Xin Lan before his gaze returned to Xiang Yu’s face. A fallen god … wanted him to put his name on the list of beauty?
Xiang Yu nodded.
“But … you’re … a fallen god.” The scribe felt embarrassed having to point out the obvious. And then his pupils dilated in fear when Xiang Yu furrowed his brows.
“You don’t think I’m pretty?”
“I’m pretty. I deserve to be on that list. Put my name down. It’s Xiang Yu.”
Next to him, Xin Lan stared up at the sky. Why did this guy insist on being on the list of beauty? It was already bad enough to bring him into the capital. Why did he have to contend with the gods for a spot on that thing?
He glanced at him and took in the way his gaze had darkened. Well … Xiang Yu had been a god once and he had never been to the capital in his life. He also hadn’t taken part in a big celebration like this. Maybe … this was him trying to make up for what he had missed out on.
Xin Lan sighed and turned to look at the scribe. “Get the Fate’s Scribe here.”
“Go! Or do you want to deal with this yourself?”
“Ah? No!” The god jumped to his feet and ran away, dragging Shun Tao from his chair on the other side of the square.
“What? What’s going on here?!” Shun Tao frowned at the god but couldn’t help being pushed toward the table on the other side while his chair was stolen away by one of his own scribes. He blinked and went over to the god’s original table with furrowed brows. He’d really like to see who dared to make such a fuss at the Mei Xin festival! When he arrived in front of the two men … He paled and gaped. Senior Xin Lan and … a fallen god?
Xiang Yu motioned at the slip of paper on the table. “Xiang Yu.”
Xiang Yu turned to Xin Lan for help. It seemed these scribes never listened when he talked.
Xin Lan sighed. “Put his name on the list of beauty.”
“But … he’s a fallen god.”
Xiang Yu pouted. Why was he saying this too? Wasn’t it obvious that he was a fallen god? People didn’t need to point it out for him all the time. He already knew! These gods were stupid!
Xin Lan pressed his lips together. They wouldn’t get on like this. “Is there a rule forbidding fallen gods from participating?”
“Well, no, but —”
“If there isn’t a rule, then write his name down already. There are also dragons participating. What’s the problem with registering a fallen god?”
Shun Tao wanted to refute but there was nothing he could say. There really wasn’t any rule in place and … to be honest, he didn’t dare to refuse too much. This was a fallen god, ah! What if he lost his cool?
He sat down at the table and picked up the brush the scribe had thrown down before. “Xiang Yu, it was?”
Xiang Yu nodded.
Shun Tao wrote it down and then waved at a scribe hurrying by.
Xiang Yu frowned and grabbed the scribe’s arm when he wanted to take the paper slip away. “Where do you think you’re bringing this? I registered!”
Shun Tao cleared his throat. “The name will be taken to the other side so that it can be displayed on the board for everyone to see. After that, everyone will be able to vote for you too.”
“Oh.” Xiang Yu let go and watched as the scribe hurried away with a white face.
Finally, his name appeared on the board. Xiang Yu smiled.
“Your name is up. Let’s go then.” Xin Lan turned away but the person once again failed to follow him. He sighed and turned around, raising his brows. “What?”
“You haven’t voted yet.”
Xin Lan looked into those dark eyes and turned to Shun Tao. He obviously wouldn’t get away if he didn’t vote. “I …” Another face flashed through his thoughts but he shook his head and didn’t dwell on it. “I’ll vote for Xiang Yu too.”
“Oh.” Shun Tao picked up a jade slab that was lying to the side and added a stroke to the last name on the list.
Xiang Yu whirled around and looked at the board with uncharacteristically happy eyes. His name … from the last place, it rose several spots, finally settling somewhere in the last third.
Xiang Yu’s smile collapsed. “Stupid. I deserve to be in the first third.” With that, he stalked off.