The Mei Xin festival slowly reached its climax and the gods poured back onto the square in front of the Heavenly Emperor’s palace. It was finally time to crown the most beautiful person of the Nine Heavens.
The board displaying the ranking had been taken down three hours ago to make sure there was still some surprise to who the winner would be. Those who had voted early and then gone off to enjoy the festival hadn’t noticed the uproar around the fallen god. In fact, they didn’t even know yet that there was one in the capital. With so many people around, not even those standing close to Xiang Yu and Xin Lan noticed that there was a fallen god among them. They were all busy with themselves and their assumptions on who would get the crown this time.
Most people guessed it would be crown prince Jing He. After all, he had always been beloved in the Nine Heavens and with his husband being the dragon king, the dragons that came to visit the festival should have voted for him too. There were those that cautioned that there was also the previous dragon king who was hailed as the greatest beauty of the dragon race. Wouldn’t the dragons rather vote for one of their own? And there were certainly a few gods that liked his exotic golden hair and eyes too and would cast their vote for him. Some people couldn’t help but bemoan that both beauties were already married and very happily at that which led to people considering if that might have influenced their votes negatively. Could it be that a new beauty would be crowned today?!
Behind them, Xiang Yu pursed his lips and looked up at Xin Lan. He felt wronged! His name had clearly been on that board as well. Why was nobody mentioning him? Were the gods so stupid that they didn’t even consider that?
Xin Lan glanced at him but didn’t speak up. Honestly, this guy should be happy that he was even at the bottom of that list. After all, he was a fallen god. If he hadn’t registered himself and threatened not to leave if he didn’t vote for him too, then he wouldn’t have received a single vote. That kind of thing … Xin Lan didn’t want to bother with it. If he could, he would leave right away but this fallen god had insisted they stayed until the end. He still seemed to believe that the gods would be awed by his beauty and flock to vote for him. Simply delusional!
While the gods discussed happily, the Heavenly Emperor and Heavenly Empress finally got up from their seats in the pavilion behind the palace. Rong Su straightened out his sleeves, rubbed his beard to make sure there were no crumbs from the pastry stuck in there and motioned to the palace. “Let’s go then.”
Bai Fen nodded and together, they entered the palace, walked through the corridors and finally reached the staircase in front that looked over the square where the gods and guests had gathered.
The Heavenly Emperor smiled brightly. Ah, soon, he’d be able to show off his son again!
The gods cheered before quieting down at his cue.
Rong Su cleared his throat. “As always, today’s Mei Xin festival will end with what you might have awaited most: The announcement of the most beautiful person in the Nine Heavens!”
Another round of cheers erupted. In the audience, Xiang Yu tugged at Xin Lan’s sleeve, pointing at himself. Maybe this beauty would be him?
At another spot on the square, Qiu Ling hugged Jing He. The most beautiful person was, of course, his beloved! He would naturally gain first place. There was no question about it?
Jing He could imagine what his husband thought but he didn’t care either way. Even though he still thought it important what impression he left others with, he wouldn’t overthink it like before. What did it matter to him who the most beautiful person was? He was already happily married and nothing would change that. He gently patted Qiu Ling’s arm and leaned against his chest. In his opinion, he’d much rather go home and spend a quiet evening with his husband.
On top of the staircase, Rong Su turned to look at Shun Tao who was waiting to the side. “Fate’s Scribe, bring me the list!”
Shun Tao’s lips twitched and he walked forward, stopping three steps away from the Heavenly Emperor. He handed the list over with both hands and retreated to where the scribes of his palace were waiting, leading them down the staircase in a hurry to make way for the greatest beauty.
Rong Su looked at the scroll in his hands and his smile got even more pronounced. Ah, he didn’t have the least bit of doubt that it was his son who won! Actually, why should he take the trouble of looking? He might as well —
Bai Fen discreetly elbowed her husband to remind him that he still had an image to uphold even if the love for his son was an open secret in the capital.
Rong Su grumbled but still unfurled the scroll. “The most beautiful person in the Nine Heavens is J—” He coughed. Uh? What? How come … Why was his son’s name in second place?!
The gods stared up at him in surprise, some of them raising their brows. What was it?
Bai Fen also noticed that her husband was being strange. She glanced at the list and barely held back a smirk. So it was like that! She cleared her throat and took the scroll from his hands. “How considerate of you to allow me.” She turned to smile at the gods. “It seems my husband just noticed that some people were quite playful this time around. I was actually voted into the top ten.” She laughed and a lot of the gods joined in.
So it was like that! The Heavenly Emperor was jealous because other people had also noticed his wife was a beauty!
Bai Fen smiled and patted her husband’s shoulder. “You do not have to worry. Whoever voted for me, I only love you.” She even leaned over and kissed his cheek. Then she turned serious again and raised the list. “The person you voted the most for and who will thus be hailed the most beautiful person of the Nine Heavens is … Xiang Yu!”
Xiang Yu tugged at Xin Lan’s sleeve. The dragon held his forehead in response. How … had this happened? A fallen god the most beautiful person of the Nine Heavens?
The rest of the audience was equally bewildered. Some didn’t know who Xiang Yu was and couldn’t help but quietly ask those next to them to find out. If this was really a supreme beauty, then they wanted to know who it was! Those that had been on the square or heard about this fallen god kept quiet or cheered in a restrained manner.
Bai Fen watched the reaction of the gods and couldn’t help but wonder what this meant. She also hadn’t heard about this Xiang Yu before but was it really so strange that someone might be chosen that hadn’t been on the list in previous years? After all, there would always be people coming of age and taking part for the first time.
She lowered the scroll and smiled. “I’d like to ask Xiang Yu to come up to receive our congratulations and this year’s price.” She motioned at the spot next to her and her husband.
Xiang Yu wanted to jump over there but Xin Lan pulled him back. “Are you stupid?! You can’t appear in front of so many people!” After all, the mark between his brows was everything but inconspicuous. One glance was enough to understand that he was a fallen god.
Xiang Yu shook him off with a wronged expression. “Stupid! They already saw me at the festival and even voted me into the first position. They don’t mind what I am.” He didn’t bother to listen to Xin Lan’s next words, jumped off and flew over to the staircase, coming to stop right in front of the Heavenly Emperor and Empress.
Rong Su’s eyes widened at the sight of the mark between Xiang Yu’s brows.
Bai Fen raised her brows. “You are … Xiang Yu?”
Xiang Yu nodded eagerly and smiled, his eyes curving into crescents.
Bai Fen laughed. “Ah, what an adorable child!” How come he was a fallen god though? She motioned at the servant that waited at the side while holding a wooden chest.
The girl brought the chest over, her hands trembling when she looked at Xiang Yu’s face.
Bai Fen ignored the shaking and opened the box, exposing a shimmering white flower. “This is the pearl lotus from the Yue mountain in the Northern Heaven. It is known as one of the purest and most beautiful flowers of the Nine Heavens so we award it to the beauty elected at the Mei Xin festival since this festival isn’t just about outward beauty but also about having a beautiful heart.” She smiled and couldn’t help but reach out and pat Xiang Yu’s head. “Congratulations, beauty Xiang Yu.”
Xiang Yu beamed and nodded at her, taking the chest with the flower and putting it into his spatial ring. Then he turned around and jumped, stretching out his arms.
The gods ducked to the side. They didn’t know why this fallen god was suddenly attacking but they didn’t want to be in his way!
Only one person remained in the middle of the square and watched Xiang Yu fly closer with a bored expression. Xin Lan sighed and turned to make Xiang Yu finally leave this damned festival.
Xiang Yu crashed against his back and the two of them tumbled to the ground thanks to his momentum. Xiang Yu didn’t mind. He happily hugged Xin Lan’s neck, choking him in the process. “I won! Did you see? I won and I got a pretty flower!”
Xin Lan raised his head with an aggrieved expression. He wanted to curse the person on his back but his gaze met with a pair of golden eyes a few hundred meters away. They were curved in laughter and only the fan covering the lower part of his face ensured that those not familiar with him wouldn’t notice his amusement.
Xin Lan gulped down his complaint and nodded. “Alright, alright. You were right. Now, get up. I’ll bring you home.”
Xiang Yu really got up but he didn’t make to leave.
“What is it now?”
Xiang Yu pursed his lips. “Do we … have to return already? Can’t we go do something else?”
Xin Lan sighed, grabbed Xiang Yu’s wrist and pulled him along. “Then let’s go do something else. You better decide soon what you want.”
“Mn!” Xiang Yu happily followed behind him, leaving a square full of dumbfounded gods behind.
At another spot on the square, Jing He finally pulled back from kissing his husband and smiled. “Who cares about what others think? There is only one list of beauty I need to hold the first place on and that is your list.”
“Mn. I only want to be your beauty.
“Then … let’s go home.”
With that, the second pair also left the square and the Mei Xin festival came to an end for this year but it would be talked about for a long time.