The people that had currently been lining up on the square to register someone’s name or vote for the beauty they liked watched the fallen god leave and Senior Xin Lan run after him. Not only a few of them rubbed their eyes and nudged the person next to them, asking whether or not they had seen the same thing. To their surprise, it seemed it hadn’t been a hallucination. It was indeed the case that a fallen god had visited their capital to put his own name on the list of beauty.
In one of the streets leading to the square, Jinde hid his face behind the fan. Leng Jin Yu still saw the wide grin from the side though.
“You seem to find that funny. I’m sure the gods are shocked.”
“They are for sure but don’t you think this is … unexpectedly expected of Xin Lan? He never was serious about anyone he got involved with, then didn’t date anymore and now that he got himself a lover, it turns out to be a fallen god.” He burst out laughing. “If you had asked me before what kind of person he brought, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with this but after seeing that guy, I can’t say it’s strange. Xin Lan really is …” He shook his head and closed the fan, nudging Leng Jin Yu’s arm with it. “Let’s go cast our votes.”
The two of them walked over to the table where Shun Tao still sat in a daze. Jinde cleared his throat to get his attention and raised his golden brows in a teasing manner.
“Uh … Welcome. You … want to vote?”
“Mn.” Jinde smiled brightly. “The Fate’s Scribe looks a little lost. What could have happened to stump one of the most even-tempered trueborn gods?”
Shun Tao laughed dryly. He really didn’t want to recount that encounter.
“Eh? I feel like I just saw our dragon race’s Xin Lan leave.”
Shun Tao gave a strained smile. Was this guy teasing him? As if anyone could have missed seeing that Senior Xin Lan with the uproar his company had caused!
“Ah, Jin Yu, I think I saw somebody with him.”
“Should be the one he mentioned before.”
Jinde opened the fan with a swoosh. “You mean his lover?”
The square turned silent and the gods stared at Jinde. What had they just heard? That person … was Senior Xin Lan’s lover? Well, he had accompanied him and today was the Mei Xin festival so … it did make sense.
Jinde ignored them and glanced at the jade slip on Shun Tao’s table instead. “I think Xin Lan must be a very indulging lover. He probably registered his lover’s name, didn’t he? In that case, I’d also like to vote for that person. Us dragons should stand together.”
“Uh …” Shun Tao gulped. “That … that person is a fallen god.”
“Oh? How curious!” Jinde grabbed Leng Jin Yu’s arm and smiled. “My dear husband, how about you also vote for him? I couldn’t stand seeing Xin Lan suffer.”
“Then … what about you?” Leng Jin Yu raised his brows. Someone of the dragon race had obviously registered Jinde’s name already but he had wanted to vote for him too. After all, he naturally thought his husband was the most beautiful person in all three immortal realms.
“Ah, I think you can bear my anger better than a fallen god’s fury.”
The gods around them paled.
Shun Tao picked up his brush with trembling fingers and noted the new vote for Xiang Yu. Then he looked up at Leng Jin Yu. “You really want to vote for him too?”
Leng Jin Yu nodded. “Why not?”
Shun Tao sighed and added yet another vote. He couldn’t help but look at the board with the names. A lot of people only had one or two votes that were being cast by their partners or parents. After these two additional votes, Xiang Yu’s name shot up again, approaching the peak of the last third. There were a few other people that had four or five votes thanks to an additional admirer or friends but those were still the places at the end of the list and there was a big distance to the middle and top. Xiang Yu would need a lot more votes to find his way into the middle field.
Jinde was satisfied though. He was already so old and happily married. Having his husband tell him every day that he was beautiful was much more important to him than a spot on a list of some event. But seeing how Xin Lan’s lover had been happy when he got those two votes despite one being cast by himself, he felt that giving their two votes up for him was worth it. Mn, maybe he should ask some more people of the dragon realm to help out. With Xin Lan’s prestige in their race, it shouldn’t be impossible to get that gloomy-looking child high up there on that list.
Jinde smiled at Shun Tao and dragged his husband away, searching for a dragon or two in the crowd. Leng Jin Yu didn’t say anything. He could imagine what Jinde was up to and even though he felt that they were crashing the gods’ festival, he wouldn’t be able to win in an argument with Jinde on this anyway. And it might also be good if the gods overcame part of their fear of fallen gods. Maybe then a lot of tragedies wouldn’t need to happen anymore in the future.
As nice as his thoughts were, what was happening in the capital of the Nine Heavens right now was the exact opposite. The gods that had been gathered on that square looked at each other with unease.
One of those that had stood close to Shun Tao’s table finally cleared his throat and leaned to his company. “Say, did he just say that the fallen god would be furious if he doesn’t win?”
“That … that sounded like it.”
“Then …” The two of them exchanged a glance and hurried to the front of Shun Tao’s table. “I … I’d like to vote for that Xiang Yu too!”
“Me too!” His partner nodded eagerly. It might not be recorded who voted for whom but it was still better to vote for him just in case he lost and unleashed his fury. Then they could at least say truthfully that they had voted for him! Wasn’t it said that fallen gods could see into your soul and determine if you were lying? Who knew whether that was true or not but they couldn’t risk angering him! It was better to be safe than sorry!
With these two making a move, other gods also woke up from their daze. They ran to the tables, clamoring over who could vote for Xiang Yu first. They definitely didn’t want to be the last one! What if they were accused of just following the crowd and not appreciating his beauty enough?! Wouldn’t the fallen god dislike them?!
The scribes hurried to note down everyone’s votes. Their brushes seemed to fly over the jade slabs and Shun Tao finally couldn’t take it any longer. He waved at some people to bring over more tables until they lined the whole square. Finally, the crowd spread out, letting the poor scribes take a short breath and slow down their writing. Meanwhile, Xiang Yu’s name steadily climbed up on the list of beauty, finally reaching the halfway mark and the speed at which it climbed up further didn’t seem to diminish by much.
With the uproar happening on the square that was used for voting, the gods from the surrounding streets came running over and asked around just what had everyone in such a turmoil. Hearing that the person everyone voted for was a vindictive fallen god, those that hadn’t voted yet hurried to one of the tables while those that had given their vote to a random beauty or to the person they secretly admired regretted deeply. The fallen god would have a look at when the votes were cast, wouldn’t he? He couldn’t hold them responsible for voting for somebody else if his name hadn’t even been registered by that time, could he?
Since they couldn’t vote for him themselves a few of them hurried off to do some redemption at least and dragged their friends and relatives over, spreading word about this fallen god on the list of beauty further. With that, Xiang Yu’s name finally reached the top of the list.