OMF V1C100 Confessing His Sin

At the same time, a storm was brewing in the nine heavens because two other men had come to a decision: It was time to confess!
Hong Bao had informed the goddess of love after she came back from the mortal realm and of course, she had run to Shun Tao’s palace right after that. She had told him she had found a way and that he didn’t have to worry anymore. His answer had only been a pat on her head and a resigned smile, though.
Even if Hong Bao had found a way — which he certainly couldn’t imagine if he himself had worked a whole week without any solution in sight — he still couldn’t continue lying to the heavenly emperor, could he? If Tianjun should ever hear of that he would be furious. No, it was still better to admit his mistake.
With that in mind, Shun Tao made his way over to the most magnificent palace in the whole nine heavens. Heavenly guards stood at both sides of the staircase leading up to the door and were lined up next to the entrance all the same. He had always felt slightly intimidated by this sight but today, Shun Tao felt like the presence of these men was already spelling his doom. He might very well lose his life today.
Ah, he didn’t really have any regrets. The worst thing might be that he had doomed the crown prince to die shortly after him. He hadn’t known him that good but the few times they had spoken he had given him an exceedingly good impression. If His Highness had at least managed to pass one minor trial … He didn’t deserve being punished by heaven’s law either but that would at least be better than dying.
Shun Tao shook his head and climbed the stairs. He waited to be announced and finally entered the hall with a grim expression. There was no good way to tell the heavenly emperor that the crown prince would most likely die and there certainly was no right way to tell a loving father that he would lose his beloved son with near certainty.
Shun Tao went into the middle of the hall and knelt down. „Fate’s scribe Shun Tao greets His Majesty Tianjun“, he said, possibly for the last time in his life. At the end of this day, he might be dead. But even if he could keep his life through some stroke of luck, he certainly wouldn’t be the fate’s scribe anymore. That position he had spent nearly a thousand years to be able to finally call it his own and which he had hardly occupied for ten millennia … he would definitely lose it today.
The heavenly emperor smiled. „Fate’s scribe, what brings you here?“ He already had a hunch what was going on, hence the good mood. Though, what he thought of most probably differed vastly from Shun Tao’s real reason.
Shun Tao drooped his head even lower and gulped. Now it was time. „This lowly one has sinned and came to confess to his wrong-doing.“
Unexpectedly, the heavenly emperor laughed. „So, you indeed came because of that!“
Shun Tao couldn’t help but widen his eyes. The heavenly emperor … knew? And he could even laugh in the face of such a danger to his son’s life? No, this couldn’t be right. „This lowly one is afraid that His Majesty might be misinformed as to the reason for this lowly one’s visit.“
Tianjun Rong Su chuckled. „Misinformed? Be honest with me: Isn’t it because of that little servant girl?“ Even someone like the heavenly emperor who had to make a good impression couldn’t help but laugh at the rumors he finally heard this morning.
The fate’s scribe and a servant girl … It seemed like a bad joke but he had also heard that even his brother-in-law, the god of war Qiang Yan, had fallen in love with a servant girl. Seriously, what was it with the servants? Did they have that much charm to seduce two mighty men? If one of them hadn’t been his brother-in-law he might have suspected that the demons had a finger in the pie with this development.
Servant girl? Shun Tao furrowed his brow and couldn’t help but take a peek at the heavenly emperor’s expression. He looked amused, not worried in any sense. Shun Tao looked back down. He still hadn’t perceived any of the rumors and he wasn’t of a mind to care for them now.
„This lowly one doesn’t know of anything concerning a servant girl.“
„Oh?“ The heavenly emperor lifted his brows. „You didn’t come to beg for my consent to marry her?“
Shun Tao frowned even deeper. „This lowly one doesn’t know any servant girl.“ He didn’t even think of Hong Bao at this moment.
„But you were seen together …“ The heavenly emperor had been of the impression that this couldn’t be wrong. He heard of the rumor concerning Shun Tao and Shun Tao came. He said he wanted to confess his sins and called himself ‚this lowly one‘ all the time since his greeting as if he had done something unforgivable. What could that be if it wasn’t because he hooked up with some unknown servant girl and carelessly got her pregnant? The heavenly emperor truly couldn’t imagine.
Shun Tao didn’t answer. Had the person in front of him not been the heavenly emperor, he would have already interrupted him and told him the entire story. But in this case, he had to wait.
„Then what is your visit about?“ Can it really be worse than that? He already threw so much face away doing all of that where they could be seen. The vivid descriptions are all over the nine heavens. It’s only a question of time until the dragons and demons will hear of it.
Shun Tao took a deep breath. „Your Majesty … this is about crown prince Jing He.“
„What?!“ Before Shun Tao could say another word, the heavenly emperor leaped to his feet.
If it concerned his son, he always assumed the worst in other people. And hadn’t he heard just this morning what a morally degenerated thing the fate’s scribe and that servant had done in broad daylight? „You scum! You dared to seduce our son?! This is a clear case of a toad lusting after a swan’s meat! How is someone like you worthy of our son? We wouldn’t even accept that damned Longjun and he has at least an appropriate status! You bastard! What fate’s scribe, what true born god? You’re a damned lecher! You’re nearly as old as us! You should be ashamed even thinking of our precious son’s fair skin!“
The heavenly emperor was one step away from picking up whatever he could grab and throwing it at Shun Tao. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for Shun Tao, there was nothing within reach and he had to be content with roaring at him.
His voice was loud enough for every word to be clearly audible outside. The heavenly guards standing there clutched their weapons tighter and grit their teeth, some were even cracking their knuckles. Damn this! First, it was that Longjun, now even the fate’s scribe thought he could disrespect their crown prince? Just you wait! If the heavenly emperor lets you live, we’re going to beat you up for good!
They might not be able to do anything to the king of the dragon race because of his status but what was a fate’s scribe? They would make mincemeat out of him as soon as he stepped out of this hall!
The guards would have to wait for that. The heavenly emperor was far from finished with his tirade. „Have a good look at the mirror first! A guy as old and ugly as you, how could our son ever fall for you? You vile bastard, you must have forced our beloved son to satisfy your lust! You … You probably misused your position to acquire his body! You probably coerced him to do some unspeakable things with you for the sake of his trial!
Such a pure boy, he probably didn’t even know what you were trying to do until it was too late! He got tricked despicably like that and after that, he was so ashamed he didn’t even dare to tell his own father! The poor boy was suffering all on his own and fled all the way to the mortal world just to escape you!
But you … I see! That must have been what you talked about when you said you wanted to spice his trial up a bit. You didn’t even leave him alone there and still tried to take advantage of him! Do you believe I won’t have your head severed?! You’re going to pay for this! I’ll have you slowly tortured to death until nothing remains!“
With all this screaming, Shun Tao didn’t find any opportunity to inject that no, he hadn’t fantasized about the crown prince nor had he done any unspeakable things to him. He wanted to confess so badly but instead, any other possible crime was heaved upon his head until the heavenly emperor finally had enough.
This roar was met with the instant sound of a hundred men storming into the hall, all of them maliciously glaring at Shun Tao. Whatever torture the heavenly emperor decrees, we’ll make sure you get a few bouts extra!
„Drag this traitor to the justice court! Tell Li Yin I don’t want to see even one place on this bastard’s body unharmed!“
„Yes!“ The guards grabbed Shun Tao with pleasure and started dragging him out as heavy-handed as they could.
Finally not being interrupted anymore and livid at having all these things said to him, Shun Tao just roared right back at the heavenly emperor: „For heaven’s sake! I didn’t screw your son, I screwed his fate up!“

OMF V1C99 Aren’t I pitiful?

When the heavenly empress, Bai Fen, came to visit her son’s palace the next morning, she found two dragons guarding the door next to the heavenly guards her husband had arranged. She smiled at the two.
„His Majesty Longjun is inside?“
Yi Zan and Xiang Yong both nodded. The heavenly guards grimaced at this reaction. One of them stepped out of the line and knelt before the heavenly empress, cupping his fists.
„This servant greets Her Majesty, the heavenly empress.“
„Rise. Do tell.“
„Longjun came by yesterday evening and entered the crown prince’s palace.“ He hesitated a bit but finally stayed silent. Who knew how far the others had investigated? If even the heavenly emperor didn’t know about that assassination attempt until now, he certainly couldn’t inform the heavenly empress. Moreover, they certainly couldn’t trust the dragons. What if they had made up a story to deter them from stopping that brazen Longjun?
„Oh. So it’s like that.“ Bai Fen smiled. No wonder the heavenly guards were looking like that. They had the same dislike for her future son-in-law as her husband. They all felt like he was trying to take advantage of their beloved crown prince.
She nodded at the guards and the two dragons and entered herself. Of course, what she found was Qiu Ling who had climbed into her son’s bed and still hugged him to his chest.
Bai Fen sat down at the bedside and sighed. „Haish, this child … What if my husband had found them like this? He might even start a war with the dragons. Shouldn’t you be a bit more responsible?“
She patted his shoulder but Qiu Ling only sighed in his sleep and started to smile. Who knew what he was dreaming of right now?
„Jing He …“ He rubbed his beloved’s back and his hand glided into Jing He’s hair as if of its own accord.
Bai Fen looked at him and sighed. „Longjun, it’s not your lover, it’s your mother-in-law who’s trying to wake you up.“
„Mn …“ Qiu Ling smiled even brighter and buried his head in Jing He’s hair.
Bai Fen leaned forward and put her hands next to her mouth. „Qiu Ling, oh no! It’s my father!“
„What?“ Qiu Ling’s eyes flew open and he leaped up, his gaze locking onto the folding-screen in front of the door at once. He couldn’t see anyone and finally, he noticed the woman next to them. „Uh … Mother-in-law?“
„Mn … I … didn’t know you were coming over.“
„I didn’t tell anyone.“
„Then … the heavenly emperor …?“
„Is probably in his own palace?“
„Oh.“ Qiu Ling sat back down and glanced at Jing He. After hugging him for a whole night his hair was spread out on the whole bed and his robes were crinkled. Qiu Ling conscientiously rubbed at them a few times and tried to arrange Jing He’s hair. Bai Fen caught his wrist, though, before he could touch even one of the silky strands.
„Longjun, I know you good enough. Don’t even start with that.“
Qiu Ling took his hand back. She was right. He’d probably not be able to hold back after he started arranging Jing He’s hair. Mn, who could fault him? The feeling was just too exhilarating.
Bai Fen sighed, seeing her future son-in-law absentminded again. „So, what did you run over here for yesterday? Weren’t you accompanying him in the mortal world?“
Qiu Ling pressed his lips together, threw himself to the ground in front of Bai Fen and buried his head in her lap. „Mother-in-law! It’s terrible!“
Bai Fen’s brows twitched. „Longjun, have a bit of self-awareness. What if anybody saw you like this?“
„What about it? I don’t care for my image.“
„Well, but I care for mine! What if people said I was cheating on my husband with you?“
Qiu Ling tilted his head and looked up at her grumpily. „But I’m your son-in-law.“
„You … You’re not. Not officially anyway.“
Qiu Ling’s lips quivered and he hugged her. „Indeed! Mother-in-law, I feel wronged! Do you know what your son did in the mortal realm? How are you going to compensate me?!“
Bai Fen sighed and patted his head. „So something happened. Come on then, child, tell mother-in-law how her son bullied you.“ She glanced at her own son’s face. I wonder if you would have fallen in love with him had you known this side of him. What will happen when you find out in the future?
„He kissed another man!“. Qiu Ling looked at her accusingly.
Bai Fen’s brows lifted. „Why are you looking at me like this? I’m only kissing my husband. Even if I was kissing someone else, it would be none of your business.“
„It’s your son we’re talking about here! Do something!“ Qiu Ling looked wronged but Bai Fen didn’t relent.
„Seriously, how old is he now? Eight? He’s just a child! How can you make such a fuss just because a child kissed someone? This doesn’t count.“
„How does that not count? I had to see him kiss another man!“
„So, what’s their relationship? It couldn’t have been his father?“
Qiu Ling shook his head.
„His uncle?“
Qiu Ling shook his head again, his expression getting worse. „Would I be making a scene then? It’s my love rival we’re talking about here! Take this a little more seriously, mother-in-law!“
„Yes, yes, yes. You’re such a poor child.“ She patted his head again and Qiu Ling’s mood lifted a bit.
„Indeed!“ He looked at her with a mischievous glint in his eyes. „Aren’t I pitiful, mother-in-law?“
„Yes, you definitely are.“ Bai Fen stroked his head.
„Don’t you feel like I’m losing out because of this trial?“
„Certainly you are!“
„Then don’t you think you should help me?“
„But of course!“
„Then, if your son brings home some other guy in the future you have to chase that man away! You can’t accept him no matter what! And you should advise your son not to fool around with other men anyway! Tell him, he should save himself for me!“
Bai Fen answered him with leaning forward, grabbing his nose and twisting. „You! Do you think I’m like Jing He? Easily talked into anything just because of your flimsy excuse of an argumentation?“
„Ah, mother-in-law, I was wrong!“ Qiu Ling escaped her grip and moved back a step, grumpily rubbing his nose. „I don’t know what you’re talking about, though. I certainly didn’t talk Jing He into anything.“
„No? I somehow remember a day where my son came to me, paced up and down in my palace and finally asked what I thought of him taking a trip through the immortal realms with you.“
„Uh … That … didn’t have to do anything with argumentation, though? Just have a look at my eyes! Your son just couldn’t help being swayed looking at them. It must be that my endless love moved his heart and made him want to go.“
„Really?“ Bai Fen raised her brows. „If I remember correctly he didn’t think it was a good idea based on the places you proposed to stop at.“
Qiu Ling’s eyes widened and he scurried closer again. „Why that? Weren’t the places I proposed great? We could have had so much fun!“
This time, Bai Fen went for his ear. „Fun, my ass! He told me everything! Weren’t you just trying to seduce him to make him marry you sooner? There was even a visit to a hot spring planned!“
„Aiya, mother-in-law, what’s bad about hot springs? It’s beneficial for your health to go there!“
„Yes, yes. And there was no special reason you decided on a hot spring in the dragon realm instead of the nine heavens, was there?“
„Of course not!“
„Mhm. I’d believe you at once. If your record wasn’t this bad, that is.“
Qiu Ling pouted. „I don’t know what you’re talking about. I always treated him like a princess.“
„I hope you’re not serious with that. If not for Jing He’s stellar reputation before knowing you, he might have been ruined by now if he was a girl.“
Qiu Ling pouted even more and slid back to the other side of the bed, looking at Jing He. „Do you hear what your mother is saying, my love? Now even mother-in-law doesn’t like me anymore! I was just earnestly trying to win your heart, though. It seems she doesn’t want a handsome son-in-law after all.“ Looking at his beloved again, Qiu Ling’s expression slowly worsened. He couldn’t help remembering the trial and the years still in front of them …
Seeing her future son-in-law so depressed, Bai Fen couldn’t help but sigh. It seems he really didn’t take in a good way whatever happened in the mortal realm. „Qiu Ling …“ She went over and patted his head again. „There’s no need to look like this. I’ll advise him as soon as he comes back, alright?“
Qiu Ling looked up but still seemed depressed.
„Well, I doubt there is a need anyway. Jing He loves you so much. Why would he even think of getting together with another man? I’m sure all of this only happened because he is a child now. When he’s grown up, wouldn’t his taste get better? Who would he fall in love with then if not with my handsome son-in-law? You’re such a good catch! I trust my son that he’ll be able to see that.“
Qiu Ling looked a bit better after that but he still refused to answer. Bai Fen grew a bit anxious.
„What is it? Why are you still looking at me like this?“
„Mother-in-law …“ Qiu Ling bedded his chin in her lap and looked up pitifully. „You need to help me devise a plan to capture my beloved back!“

OMF V1C98 Missing You

Though time moved faster in the mortal realm compared to the nine heavens, it hadn’t been a long time in either realm since Qiu Ling entered the crown prince’s palace. After returning to the nine heavens, he had taken one deep look at the familiar walls and entered irrespective of the protests from the heavenly guards.
And then, seeing Yi Zan and Xiang Yong there beside Jing He’s bed, he had grown angry and kicked them out. No, he didn’t want anyone but himself to be by his beloved’s side.
Qiu Ling stood there next to the folding-screen behind the door. He wanted to go over but at the same time, he was afraid of taking the next step. He could see his beloved lying there on the bed, his white robe shimmering in the sunlight filtering through the windows, his ink-black hair spilling over the sheets.
He looked as lovely as always. It was just … He was lying too still. There was no motion, not even the slight rising and falling of his chest to indicate that he was still breathing and alive. If one didn’t know that his soul was only temporarily in the mortal world and would return soon, one would certainly think he had passed on.
Even Qiu Ling who had been there when Jing He’s soul left and had stayed at his mortal reincarnation’s side couldn’t help but worry, seeing him like this.
„Jing He …“ He called out to him, his voice hoarse and nearly breaking at the last syllable.
Qiu Ling closed his eyes and gulped. Yes, he was afraid. Afraid of Jing He never coming back, afraid of losing the person he had irreversibly fallen in love with. He would never have admitted to that in front of Jing He but this fear had accompanied him since the day Jing He told him about the impending trial.
Qiu Ling opened his eyes and slowly took a step forward. It felt like his body was coated in lead, weighed down by a thousand worries. He only had one, though. He took the last steps and slowly sat down at Jing He’s bedside.
„You know, I wouldn’t mind giving up on my throne as long as it would enable me to be with you forever. Whatever it is I have to do to have you by my side, I’ll do it. No questions asked. Since I met you, you’ve always been the most precious person to me, so first thing on my mind in any situation. I … I just love you so much. Jing He … Please come back soon. I can’t take this much longer.“ He took his lover’s hand in his and caressed its back with his thumb.
„When you told me you would descend to the mortal world for one whole lifetime I was devastated. Being without you … Even one day is agonizing. A whole lifetime … Seriously, what were you thinking? Did you want to torture me? Did I do something wrong? Is that it?“ He smiled at Jing He.
„I know, it is dumb to think like that. You’re not that kind of person. You wouldn’t want to see me like this. You just wanted to fulfill your father’s expectations, I guess? Maybe I should have begged him to let you stay here. Or maybe not just that. Had I … Had I asked him … Do you think he would have agreed to let us marry?“
Qiu Ling sighed. „You said to wait until you come back. But what if …“ He closed his eyes again, bent down and laid his head on Jing He’s body.
He thought that maybe feeling his warmth again would make him feel better. But the exact opposite was the case: Being so close to him it was just more obvious that he didn’t breathe and that his heart wasn’t beating.
Qiu Ling snaked one arm below Jing He’s torso and hugged his slender waist while burying his face at his chest. Tears started trickling down his cheeks and moistened Jing He’s white robe.
He couldn’t help it. He had felt horrible the whole day. And now, indulging in his craving to see his beloved again, he had to find out that being next to this body wasn’t what he had hoped for. It just made his fear grow. This was just an empty husk, not the person he held so dear.
„Jing He, Jing He. Don’t do this to me. Please, wake up.“
He hugged him tighter but of course, there was no reaction whatsoever. Qiu Ling took a trembling breath and tried to calm his heart. „He’ll come back. He’ll definitely come back. He won’t leave me alone.“
But whatever he told himself, it couldn’t shake the uneasiness in his heart. How long? For how long would he have to be without him?
Fifty years? That might be an average span of life for a human. That would be fifty days in the nine heavens. Not even two months. He could wait for that long. He could …
Qiu Ling lay down beside Jing He and pulled his still body into his arms. „You can’t fall in love with anybody down there. Do you hear me? You just can’t. I won’t be able to take it if you do. You wouldn’t want to see me die out of heartbreak, would you? My Jing He …“
He softly brushed Jing He’s hair back and kissed his brow. Lying next to him like this, looking at the familiar profile, Qiu Ling could talk himself into believing that Jing He had only fallen asleep before him.
He smiled at that thought and hugged him a little closer. „You know, my love, when you’ve come back and we’ve finally married, it’ll be like this every day. Holding you close to my chest, falling asleep together and waking up with you in my embrace … Being able to anticipate our marital life is probably the only thing making this whole trial period bearable.“ He sighed again but finally shook his head. „Let’s not think about that anymore. For today … just grant me beautiful dreams, my dear.“
He kissed Jing He’s temple and finally closed his eyes. Though, the beautiful dreams he had that night would have to sustain him for a long, long time.

OMF V1C97 Informing the Nine Heavens

In the courtyard, Qiang Wei had finally managed to subdue the demon hunter. At the moment, he was holding him down on the ground while sitting on his back.
„Damn, you’re not bad, considering you’re only human. Now, tell me, what were you trying to do?“
The demon hunter grit his teeth. „Damn you, demon! Don’t think you’ll win so easily!“ He struggled but that bit of strength was naturally futile in front of a dragon.
„I believe I already won. So why don’t you tell me what you were trying to do? I wouldn’t want to force you, you know?“
„Even if you kill me, I won’t tell you anything! Others will come to finish this fight!“
„Yes, yes. So, does this have something to do with His Highness?“
The demon hunter frowned. His Highness? Could it be … Has this demon something to do with the demons’ royal court? No wonder he’s so strong! Ah, I shouldn’t have acted so rashly! Even if that woman’s darling was killed, that would still be better than letting this demon rampage in the capital.
Oh no! His eyes went wide. „What did you do to the woman?“
„Woman?“ Qiang Wei blinked and finally remembered Hong Bao. He looked around but nothing could be seen of the goddess. „Right … Where’s Hong Bao? Wasn’t she still there a moment ago?“
The demon hunter frowned deeper. „Leave her alone! She has nothing to do with you!“
„That’s true.“ Qiang Wei sighed. „Ah, a pity. She’s cute.“
Liu Cheng stayed quiet. To think he’d ever have the day where he was of the same opinion as a demon … No, wait! This demon was probably just trying to rile him up so that he would spill the beans! He must have thought they were a couple considering they arrived together. Unfortunately, that also meant the demon might be after her as soon as he finished him off.
No, I have to do something! I can’t let her take the fall just because I wasn’t strong enough. He didn’t try to struggle free but instead lifted his hand and looked at the bracelet on his wrist. He concentrated his energy on it and took a talisman out of the spatial room inside. Imbued with a bit of his energy, the talisman flew into the air and rushed out.
Qiang Wei sighed and waved. The winds around them picked up and delivered the talisman right into his hands. „Chun Feng Sect … Mn … Never heard of them.“ He crumpled the talisman and threw it into his own spatial ring. „Well, if you don’t want to tell me anything else …“ He took out his necklace and imbued the transmission stone with his energy. The stone started glowing and Qiang Wei started to wait. He waited a bit longer and still a bit longer and finally gave up, sighing. „So we’re back to the normal state of not being able to reach him.“
He shook his head, took out another transmission stone and contacted Yi Zan instead. The other side answered in a spell. „Qiang Wei. What happened?“
„Is His Majesty over there?“
„Mn. He came here just now and kicked us out. I haven’t heard anything since then.“
Qiang Wei sighed. The transmission stone they were using could only transmit Yi Zan’s voice and not project his image but he could imagine his deadpan expression. Yi Zan had probably already given up on their king ever behaving in a normal way.
„Well, when he comes out, tell him that some strange guy showed up. I’m not sure of his motif. This might have been an assassination attempt on His Highness.“
„What did you say?!“, came another voice through the transmission stone. „Somebody tried to assassinate the crown prince?! How is he?“
„What? Somebody tried to assassinate the crown prince?!“, a third voice could be heard.
Qiang Wei closed his eyes. Oh no … That voice … That was one of the guards in the nine heavens, wasn’t it?
„Qiang Wei!“ Xiang Yong’s voice was uncharacteristically discomposed. „How is he? Was he hurt?“
At their side, in front of the crown prince’s palace, the heavenly guards had gathered around him and Yi Zan. Even though they had been eying them warily just before.
„No need to worry. I managed to catch the guy.“ He patted Liu Cheng’s shoulder and smiled. „He didn’t even get to where His Highness is. But you might want to tell His Majesty nonetheless. I tried contacting him but …“ He interrupted himself. There were still gods around at their side. He certainly wouldn’t speak about their king’s true character when they could hear it.
„Mn. He probably didn’t want to disturb His Highness’ peace“, Yi Zan helped out.
„We should inform His Majesty Tianjun at once“, one of the heavenly guards whispered in the background. The others whispered their assent.
„But should we investigate this first?“
„Mn, yes, we should at least know who they are.“
Qiang Wei smiled. „Those heavenly guards over there, maybe I can help a bit: Some ‚Chun Feng Sect‘ seems to have something to do with this. At least he tried to contact them when he couldn’t win against me. You might want to start investigating from there.“
There was a short pause before one of them awkwardly managed to answer. „Thank you.“ There wasn’t anything after that. Qiang Wei only heard one of them walking away from the transmission stone. He’d probably went to inform the god of war or investigate by himself. Great. Now he wouldn’t have to do anything immediately.
„Considering the circumstances“, he picked up where he left the conversation with Yi Zan, „I’d like to ask Fu Min over. Just one person might not be enough to guard His Highness.“
Xiang Yong wanted to reject but Yi Zan’s gaze let him shut up. He couldn’t understand why Qiang Wei would propose something like that when he should know that their king didn’t like having Fu Min by the crown prince’s side but Yi Zan knew him better.
„Alright. I’ll take care of that. Just concentrate on guarding His Highness.“
„Mn, I’ll do that.“ He cut the transmission and kept the stone. „So, what should I do with you now?“, he asked and patted Liu Cheng’s back once again. He hadn’t said that the culprit was still there with a view to circumventing the heavenly guards running over and taking him away. Their king would want to know what this was about so they certainly couldn’t let such a good lead be taken away.
Mn, Yi Zan should have picked that up. He’ll certainly send Fu Heng over with Fu Min. Then I can go back to guarding the crown prince until His Majesty returns.
He sighed. Ah, Fu Min, Fu Heng, please hurry! Having to cope with this is worse than just guarding a mortal reincarnation. He even said I’m a demon. And he said it more than once!

OMF V1C96 Mission Accomplished!

Hong Bao slipped into the house and looked around. She didn’t need long to find the room the Zhongs were eating in and Mister and Madam Zhong as well as Jing Yi soon retired to their own room to go to sleep.
Hong Bao followed them. She peeked through the window and contemplated what to do. She had the dagger in her hand. She could just jump inside, injure the crown prince and run out. But who knew how he would react when he woke up as a god again? He’d certainly remember her face and then Shun Tao would get into even more trouble!
No, she couldn’t let him see her face! She needed to wait until he was asleep. Like that, Hong Bao waited in front of the window and watched how the Zhongs busied themselves. Jing Yi was the first one to sleep. Hong Bao had understood that he was Mister and Madam Zhong’s child and couldn’t help but wonder how that tyrannical crown prince could have such a cute child.
„That must be the influence of his wife. She probably got tricked into marrying him. Thankfully, the child still has such a nice mother by its side!“
Soon, Mister and Madam Zhong, too, went to bed. If one managed to ignore the racket from Qiang Wei and Liu Cheng’s fight in the courtyard, the house was completely quiet. Hong Bao waited a bit longer, though. Who knew if that despicable crown prince had some inkling of her plan and was just waiting to catch her? She wouldn’t let him succeed with his evil plan! She just had to wait for a while longer …
Hong Bao propped herself up at the windowsill and waited. Her eyelids were getting heavier and her head started swaying gently from side to side. Finally, she dozed off, lost her balance and made contact with the window. Hong Bao jerked up. Mister and Madam Zhong inside jerked up, too.
„What was that?“ Madam Zhong clutched her husband’s arm. She had already been frightened by the fight they had heard before, but Zhong Gang and his wife had claimed that such things happened quite often in the capital and were nothing to worry about as long as one didn’t go over to have a look. But now the fight seemed to have come closer by itself.
„Maybe we should go and have a look?“ Mister Zhong proposed.
„But your cousin said it’s not safe.“
Mister Zhong nodded. In all honesty, he also didn’t want to go. „Who knows? Maybe they were only there for a moment and already went away again. You hear that? The noise still seems to come from the street.“
Madam Zhong nodded. „Alright. Then let’s just ignore it. Nothing will happen.“
Unfortunately, just at this moment, a bang sounded from the courtyard, startling even Jing Yi awake who had been fast asleep. The boy sat up and rubbed his eyes, looking at his mother. „Mommy …“
Madam Zhong sighed and got out of bed, hurrying over to her son. „Don’t worry. They’re far away.“
Jing Yi didn’t look convinced.
„How about mommy stays with you tonight?“
Jing Yi nodded and hugged her neck. He didn’t really care for the fight. If anything happened, they could call grandfather over. Grandfather would protect them! He didn’t suspect that Qiu Ling had already left and that the jade bracelet he had given him wouldn’t be able to alert him however much he tried. As long as Qiu Ling himself or one of his subordinates wasn’t there he would be without protection. But thinking of that sagely old man and being next to his favorite person, Jing Yi fell asleep at once.
Madam Zhong, though, was kept awake by her thoughts. The fight let her remember that man and she couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of the people fighting there. What if something happened to him? What if nothing happened? Though she had trusted him in the beginning, she grew afraid now. What kind of fate would her son have with this man around? However much she worried, she still finally fell asleep.
Mister Zhong, who wasn’t prone to brooding at any time of the day, was already fast asleep for a long while at that time.
Hong Bao looked on, this time straining her eyes so as to not fall asleep once again or startle the three humans in the room awake. Finally, she could only hear even breathing.
He should be awake by now, she thought and gripped the dagger tighter. She only had to go inside and cut him. That wasn’t so difficult. With a grim expression — well, as grim as someone like Hong Bao could look — she unsheathed her weapon and cautiously opened the door. The hinge creaked.
Hong Bao froze on the spot, the dagger lifted in one hand and the other hand still on the handle of the door. It rustled inside. Oh no. She peeked around the door but found that her target had only turned in his sleep.
„Phew!“ Hong Bao dabbed on the cold sweat that had broken out on her brow. That had been a close shave!
She tiptoed into the room and halted next to Mister Zhong’s bed. „I’m sorry“, she whispered. „Even though you’re an evil guy, I wouldn’t harm you normally. But if this can save Shun Tao, then it’s better you attempt your trial again another time. You don’t have to worry, this won’t hurt at all.“ She leaned forward and made a small cut on his thumb. The next day, it would probably look as if he had cut himself in the teahouse. Nobody would suspect anything.
Having accomplished her goal, Hong Bao smiled, turned around and left the room. She closed the door behind her and looked in the direction of the fight. At first, she wanted to go over and tell them to stop but then she reconsidered. One of them was on the crown prince’s side after all.
Hong Bao pursed her lips thinking of that, sheathed the dagger and made her way back to the nine heavens. Ah, it felt good having accomplished her mission! Now she only had to inform the goddess of love and then she could go and tell the good news to Shun Tao! The heavens really were on her side.

OMF V1C95 Demons, Dragons, Gods?

Before the demon hunter could say anything else, Hong Bao leaped to her feet and pointed at the other side of the road. „There, that’s him!“
The man whirled around and his gaze locked onto the people leaving the teahouse: Mister Zhong, Madam Zhong, Zhong Jing Yi and … Qiang Wei. The dragon had hidden his presence to mortal eyes but unfortunately, the demon hunter wasn’t a normal human. He wasn’t able to clearly see Qiang Wei, but he could still perceive that someone was there.
„I see.“ His expression became even graver. This young lady and her darling probably have gotten into some fight between demons. That ‚goddess of love‘ is most likely some fox spirit and the one over there … I can’t identify his exact origin at the moment, but he should be a pretty high ranking demon if that is the case.
„So, can you help me?“ Hong Bao’s eyes shone. Yes! Finally! She had nearly saved Shun Tao now!
„Mn. Give me some ti—“
„Then let’s go!“ Hong Bao grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet, running after the Zhongs and Qiang Wei.
„Heh!“ The demon hunter pulled at her hand to make her stop, but Hong Bao lost her balance and crashed into him. The man caught her and closed his eyes. What was it with this woman?
„Ah! Oh, no! Come on, we have to hurry! What if we lose them? I don’t know where they are staying!“ She started pulling him along again and this time, he just followed her.
Whatever. We’ll see how it goes. Even if it’s a high-level demon, I should be able to kill it. Just that … He looked at Hong Bao. I can’t have her in the vicinity if a fight breaks loose. She’s just a normal person. How could she be able to take it?
The two of them followed the Zhongs to Zhong Gang’s house and stopped a few hundred meters down the road. „So that’s where he lives!“ Hong Bao fixated on the door.
This was the right place, she had the right weapon in her hands and had identified the right target. The only thing she had to do was to get inside somehow and do it. She turned around and looked at the demon hunter expectantly but the man was eying the house. He was pondering whether the demon he had seen was the only one inside. He couldn’t sense anything from this distance but thinking about it now, he also hadn’t felt anything from that demon when he was right opposite him on the other side of the road. This was worrying.
Hong Bao waited for a while but finally lost her patience. She turned around and made her way over to the door. So … how to get inside? She tried pushing the door open but of course, it was closed. So, this wasn’t possible.
She looked around and went over to the wall next to the door. There were rather deep joints between the bricks. Maybe she could use those to climb inside? She tried grabbing them and securing her foot in one of them but she fell down as soon as she put the second foot up.
Hong Bao sat on her butt and pouted. It couldn’t be that she would fail at the last juncture, could it?!
The demon hunter looked over and lifted his brows. „What are you trying to do?“
Hong Bao turned around and looked at him, depressed. „I can’t get inside.“
The demon hunter put a hand to his brow and sighed. „What are you hurrying for? There’s a demon inside! You can’t just rush inside blindly!“
„What demon? Isn’t he a god?“
The man just shook his head. It would lead to nothing trying to explain the truth to her. Of course, the man never would have thought that Hong Bao understood the situation very well and that she wasn’t any more human than the supposed demon Qiang Wei. Well, maybe she was, considering that Hong Bao had once been a mortal before she was raised to the status of a deity and that Qiang Wei was born as a dragon.
„You don’t need to worry about that. Just let me finish him off.“
„Are you sure? No, wait, that’s not right! Why do you even want to finish him off? The goddess of love said that it would be enough to injure him a little with that dagger.“
The demon hunter smiled and patted her head. „She’s the goddess of love. She’s probably just too kind to say the truth. It’s better to kill him, believe me.“ Of course, that wasn’t what he really thought. He was sure Hong Bao had met with a vicious demoness that wanted to use her to harm somebody she couldn’t win against herself. Mn, the young lady was truly lucky to have met him!
„Don’t worry. I’ll do it.“
Hong Bao nodded and extended the weapon.
The demon hunter’s smile went awry. „I don’t need that. I have my own weapons.“
„Oh. Then …“ Hong Bao hesitated a bit. „Then when will you go? Shun Tao …“
Right. There was still her darling that might die if he didn’t do something soon. The demon hunter sighed, looked at the house next to them and procured a rope with a hook at its end from his spatial bracelet. Of course, he didn’t need it. It was just as to not scare the young woman next to him. „Then I’ll go inside now. Don’t worry. I’ll kill the demon and save your darling.“
„Mn!“ Hong Bao nodded, though she wasn’t really convinced. She was grateful that he wanted to help but she didn’t have high expectations for someone who couldn’t tell a god from a demon. Not that Hong Bao had ever seen a demon and knew if there was a difference or not.
The demon hunter threw the rope, securing the hook at the top of the wall, and started climbing up. A little further than half of the way up, he stopped. It somehow seemed like someone was tugging at the rope?
He looked down and his eyes went wide. „Little lady“, he began with an expression as if he wanted to cry, „What’s with that? Why are you climbing up, too?“
„I’m helping you, of course!“ Hong Bao climbed even faster until she was right below him. „What are you waiting for? Can’t you hold on? How about I climb up first and help you up after that?“
The demon hunter had nothing to retort. He just shook his head and climbed on top of the wall. Forget it. There’s nothing to be done. I’ll just have to keep an eye on her, lest she runs into trouble.
Thank the heavens he was already prepared for trouble because Hong Bao was like a magnet for such things. After climbing down the wall on the other side, she walked straight up to the rooms, where the Zhong family stayed, alarming Qiang Wei.
The dragon made his way over from where the Zhongs were eating dinner at this moment. His gaze went from Hong Bao to the man slowly following her and he frowned. „Hong Bao, did you know someone was following you?“
Hong Bao looked at him innocently. „I just came because of the crown prince.“
„Uh, yeah, he’s inside. I’ll take you there in a bit.“ Qiang Wei hadn’t been there when she talked to Qiu Ling, so of course, he didn’t suspect her in any way. Considering the way she had behaved in the teahouse, he just thought she had been negligent and somehow attracted a strange person.
He turned to the demon hunter that was clearly eying him warily. He was quite surprised that the man was actually able to see him, but that made him even more suspicious of him. „I believe you have no business here, so please leave.“
The demon hunter snorted. „Don’t waste your breath, demon! I, Liu Cheng, will make sure you won’t be harming any human from this day forth!“ He took out a sword and charged at Qiang Wei without wasting another word. The edge of the blade glinted in the last sunlight of the day.
Hong Bao looked at the two men, pursed her lips and went deeper into the house. Now, where was the crown prince? She didn’t have much time.
Qiang Wei grimaced. Why was this happening to him? He had just been told to deliver some wine, damn it! He wanted to go back to guard the real body of the crown prince. At least that task had some prestige to it, considering how much their king valued the crown prince.
But now here he was, attacked by some strange guy and being accused of being a demon. Qiang Wei sighed. „Looks like I’ll have to educate this fool. Dragons aren’t demons. We’re way more handsome than them!“

OMF V1C94 Ate a Bowl of Noodles, Met a Demon Hunter

Hong Bao hid not far from the teahouse at a stall selling noodles. After an hour of not ordering the boss got angry and towered in front of her, arms akimbo. „Young Miss, you can’t just sit here, hogging the table to yourself and not ordering something! Now do you want to eat something or not? If not, then get out of here for heaven’s sake!“
Hong Bao shrunk up. „Then … I’ll take a bowl of noodles?“
„Hmph.“ The boss went back to get her order and dropped the bowl onto the table with a bang. She threw Hong Bao an unfriendly look and swaggered back to her counter. Hmph, customers these days … Sitting there and eying the teahouse on the other side of the street. I’d like to know what’s so good about that teahouse! Hopefully, they’ll close down soon.
Hong Bao took her chopsticks and started eating the noodles one at a time, chewing each of them carefully as if she might choke otherwise. The owner’s brows twitched. She was of half a mind to go over and chastise the brat, but some of her other customers were looking and seemed to enjoy themselves.
Let’s wait and see how long you’re going to continue like that. You can’t take forever with one bowl of noodles, can you?
Unfortunately, the boss had underestimated Hong Bao’s talent in slow-eating. She continued eating until all her noodles had grown cold and the sky above turned dark. Most of the other customers in the stall had already left and even in the teahouse on the other side of the road Mister and Madam Zhong were wrapping up for the day.
One of the few customers still in the stall stood up and carried his own bowl of noodles over to Hong Bao. „May I?“ He motioned to the bench on the other side of the table.
Hong Bao, who still had five noodles left in her bowl, looked up and nodded. The man smiled. He was quite good-looking and Hong Bao couldn’t help but stare for a moment. If it hadn’t been for Shun Tao … No, if she hadn’t become a deity, she might have fallen in love with such a man.
„Little lady, I’ve watched you eat one bowl of noodles for over three hours now. Could it be you ran out of the house and forgot to take your purse with you?“
Hong Bao’s eyes went wide and she started patting her body. Oh, no! He was right! She really didn’t bring her purse! How would she pay for her bowl of noodles now?!
The boss saw the exchange between the two of them and hurried over. „What, no money? I should have known you were trying to dine and dash! Don’t think you’ll get away with this! I’ll —“
A hand with one silver liang entered her sight. „Might this be enough to pay for both of our bowls?“, asked the man opposite Hong Bao.
The boss shut up at once. „Of course … But why would you pay for her?“
The man only continued to smile. The boss took the money and threw another glance at Hong Bao. Being young and having a nice face sure does wonders. She was probably waiting for some idiot to help her out. Well, it wasn’t her loss. She had her money and didn’t have to care for anything else. That guy would see what he got from his meddling.
The woman went back to her counter while the man turned to Hong Bao.
Hong Bao stared right back. What a nice guy! „Thank you!“
The man smiled. „No need to thank me. Things like that can happen. Isn’t it natural to help each other out?“
„Yes!“ Hong Bao’s eyes shone. This man thought the same way as her! She leaned forward and clasped his hand. „Thank you so much! You know, I really didn’t think about it. So much happened in the last few days.“ Her face sank and she looked over at the teahouse. The last guests had just left. That reincarnated crown prince would probably leave soon, too. Could she really accomplish her goal?
The man opposite her looked at the hand Hong Bao still clasped. He felt a little torn. Being this close to a young woman, even touching her naked skin … It probably wasn’t good. That was one of those instances where he should take responsibility. But she had been the one reaching out.
He really had only wanted to help her with paying, since she seemed like a nice lady that really just forgot. That type of airhead … He actually liked it. But he couldn’t take a wife. What if something happened to him? His job was dangerous. He didn’t want to make such a young girl a widow. Though, she seemed to have taken a liking to him. Maybe he should just see where it led them?
He looked up and froze. That young lady who he thought had fallen in love with him … She was, in fact, still examining the teahouse on the other side of the road. Her expression was grave. It was painfully obvious that she was somewhere else with her thoughts. She probably hadn’t even noticed that she was holding his hand.
The man repressed a sigh and cleared his throat. „Little lady, is something the matter with this teahouse?“
Hong Bao faced him once again, her eyes wide. „Yes! How did you know?“
The man was as stunned by her reaction as Qiang Wei had been. „That … You’ve been staring at it for a while. I just guessed there might be something strange with it.“
„Oh!“ Hong Bao was impressed. He wasn’t just good-looking, he was even intelligent! He might be nearly as smart as her Shun Tao!
„So, what is it with the teahouse? Maybe I could help.“
Hong Bao pressed her lips together and considered. The man in front of her was such a nice person. If he helped her, it might indeed be easier. She finally made up her mind and leaned forward, lowering her voice. „You don’t know, but I’m on a secret mission right now!“
The man’s brows lifted. Why did that sentence sound so strange coming from a woman who didn’t seem to be even twenty years old yet and had a cute face with round cheeks and big eyes? This was just … wrong.
Hong Bao waited for a reaction but only got an empty look. He probably doesn’t understand? She had a look around to make sure nobody was listening in, then she flitted to the seat next to him, leaning close enough for him to count her lashes.
„It’s about Shun Tao.“
„Shun Tao? Who is …“ The man repeated while simultaneously trying to hold his breath. What was it with this woman? Was she flirting with him?
„Naturally, he’s the man I love!“
The man felt like crying. How come the woman he thought had taken a fancy to him was talking about her darling now?
„It’s not that easy to explain, but he might be killed tomorrow because of the man working over there in the teahouse. Thankfully, the goddess of love found me today and told me what I can do to help him. It’s just that I didn’t have any opportunity until now.“ Her shoulders drooped once again and she looked depressed. But thinking that she had at least gotten the weapon and found the crown prince by now, her spirits lifted again and she smiled at the man in front of her. „Ah, but I’m sure I’ll manage to do it until tomorrow. Look, I even got the weapon I need!“
Hong Bao finally let go of his hand. The man wanted to heave a sigh of relief, but then he saw what she was doing now and entered a coughing fit instead. Why did it seem like she was trying to get undressed?!
Yes, Hong Bao was fumbling around for the weapon once again. And since she had secured the dagger below her chest, she had to get her lapel out of the way somehow and take the weapon out of there. The easiest way was, naturally, to open her dress like she had done it in front of the god of war’s study.
The man clasped one hand over his eyes and gripped her hands with the other. „Little lady, what are you doing?“
„I’m taking out the weapon!“ Her voice sounded so innocent that he had to ask himself if he had some sort of hallucination right now. Goddess of love, weapon, the man in the teahouse … All of that seemed quite suspicious. „Rather than that … What did that goddess say you should do to the man in the teahouse?“ If some strange woman had tried to lead this girl astray, he’d definitely get involved in this!
„Well, at first she said it would be best to kill him. But then she told me it would be enough to injure him as long as I use this weapon.“ Hong Bao managed to take her hands back and finally took out the weapon. „Look, it’s this one.“ She showed him the weapon and the man forgot his worry about her chastity instantly.
„This … Where did you get this?“ He wanted to take the weapon but shied away in the end.
„From the palace of the god of war“, Hong Bao confessed, looking a bit embarrassed. „I only borrowed it, I swear!“
„And you … want to kill someone with that?“
„No! I just have to injure him. That is why I took the weapon in the first place.“
„Little lady.“ The man’s expression had become grave. „I believe you do need my help with this. This weapon isn’t a normal one, it’s demonic.“
„Hah? How do you know?“
„I’m a demon hunter. Of course, I’d recognize one of their weapons.“
„Whoa!“ Hong Bao was really impressed this time. But not by his knowledge or profession, but by her incredible luck.
The heavens must really be on her side! How come she just went to eat a bowl of noodles and managed to find a demon hunter? With somebody like that helping her, injuring the crown prince would certainly be an easy task!

OMF V1C93 Blowing Her Cover?!

When Qiang Wei returned to the room with one flask of wine in hand and another couple of flasks in his storage ring, he found a strange woman in the room. Uh … It seems like I got the door wrong? He stepped back and wanted to close the door, but the woman leaped to her feet.
„Ah, wait, wait!“
Qiang Wei paused. „What may I do for you, Miss?“
„Er … He said he is going to see his mother-in-law.“ She pointed at the table where Qiu Ling had sat before.
„His mother-in-law?“ Qiang Wei lifted his brows. He had seen Madam Zhong on the lower floor just now, so the mother-in-law his king had mentioned could only be the other one. What is he doing in the nine heavens again? Shouldn’t he be here and have an eye on the crown prince’s mortal body? Did he really just leave him alone?
„Did he say, why he wanted to see her?“
„To talk to her?“
Qiang Wei repressed a sigh. „Thank you for telling me, Miss.“ He nodded at her and wanted to go back down, but the woman followed him and grabbed his sleeve.
„Uh, say, the crown prince … Who is he?“
Qiang Wei lifted his brows. „Why would you ask that?“
„Mn, I was sent down to …“ Hong Bao hesitated. She couldn’t tell him the truth. That other guy hadn’t reacted how she hoped. This one was probably the same. They really were all on the crown prince’s side. These bastards! „To … help with the trial.“
Qiang Wei narrowed his eyes. Really? Wouldn’t the heavenly emperor rather send some guards? This should be about making sure the crown prince was safe, shouldn’t it? „And you are …?“
„Oh! I’m Hong Bao!“
„Hong Bao? I’ve never heard of you.“
„I’m … working for the scribe’s palace.“
„Ah.“ Qiang Wei smiled. „I’m sorry. I was … a little suspicious. The crown prince is important to us dragons, too.“
„Mn.“ Hong Bao pressed her lips together. She was really curious how that crown prince got so many people on his side. She really had to move fast if she wanted to save Shun Tao! „So, could you tell me who he is now? I’ve never seen him before.“
„Of course. He’s on the lower floor. Just follow me.“ He left the room and led the way down.
Hong Bao touched the dagger she had secured in her dress and tried to calm her heart. She didn’t really want to hurt someone, but wasn’t it better to hurt the reincarnation of the crown prince a bit than to have Shun Tao die? She didn’t believe for one moment that the crown prince’s lover would really help her. He’d probably tell on her and then Shun Tao would be in even more trouble. So she didn’t have another choice. She had to make her move!
„See there? At the counter?“ Qiang Wei vaguely motioned to the other side of the room.
Hong Bao looked over. There were only two children and a man frowning at a tray with tea.
„So that’s him …“ Hong Bao felt disappointed. After everything his lover had said, she had expected some otherworldly beauty, but the crown prince was only so-so. Even if she didn’t compare him to a handsome man like Shun Tao, he was still lacking. How had his lover been able to praise him that shamelessly if he looked like that?
„Is everything all right?“ Qiang Wei examined her expression and wasn’t sure what to think. Who exactly was that woman? It certainly didn’t seem strange that the scribe’s palace would send someone down, but why did she seem so … emotional?
„Yes, yes!“ Hong Bao nodded hurriedly and smiled. „I was just … overwhelmed for a moment.“
But you looked exactly the opposite? Qiang Wei thought so but didn’t utter his thoughts. It was better not to cause any problems with the gods. Their relationship was strained enough considering that their king had wooed the gods’ crown prince for so long without the heavenly emperor’s consent.
„Mn … What will you do now?“
„I guess, I’ll wait for His Majesty to return and guard the crown prince for the time being.“
„Oh.“ Hong Bao looked at the door. What could she do? She needed to divert his attention somehow. But how? She had never done anything like that.
Qiang Wei looked at the woman who was evading his gaze and smiled. „How about sitting down and having a cup of tea? It’ll take a while until His Majesty returns and you’ll certainly stay here for some days before you report back to the scribe’s palace, won’t you?“
„Ah … yes!“ Indeed. Time flowed differently in the mortal and immortal realms. That much understood even Hong Bao. As long as she managed to injure the crown prince in the next few months it would be enough. Shun Tao had that much time.
Though, she still had to hurry. If his lover returned before then, her mission would get even more complicated. It would be best if she could do it in the next few days and return to the nine heavens immediately. The sooner all of this was solved the better.
Qiang Wei motioned to the table and smiled at her. It seemed like this goddess was quite young. She was probably not even a true born goddess but had ascended as a deity somehow. „Is this your first mission in the scribe’s palace?“
Hong Bao looked at him, completely stunned. „How did you know?“
„Er … You seemed a bit … nervous, I guess?“
„Oh.“ Hong Bao looked down. Oh no! She had nearly given herself away! She had to be more vigilant! She tried looking neutral, but Qiang Wei only smiled.
Ah, now she is looking even more nervous. I shouldn’t have called her out on it. Maybe I should try to help her ease up a bit? Let’s see, how could I do that? He tapped the table with his fingers and narrowed his eyes, making Hong Bao only more nervous.
Oh no! He’s seeing right through me. I should run away and try to find an opportunity when he isn’t here! Hong Bao’s gaze flitted to the door. She didn’t know who the man in front of her was but she couldn’t imagine him to be all that good if the crown prince’s lover could just kick him out onto the street like that. It certainly won’t be a problem to run away from him. But I should still be cautious.
„Mn, so …“ Qiang Wei had finally resolved to ask a bit more about her job to divert her attention. „How long have you —“
„Oh, no! I forgot the cookies in the oven!“ Hong Bao leaped to her feet, throwing out this excuse and dashed out of the teahouse.
A dumbfounded Qiang Wei followed her departing figure with his gaze. This … seemed somehow strange? In the end, he could only sigh and shrug his shoulders. Whatever. With how His Majesty was, he didn’t have time for a woman anyway. Though, she had looked cute.

OMF V1C92 Soulmates

„What? Someone would break such a loving couple apart?!“ The woman was appalled.
Qiu Ling jumped at the opportunity to tell someone his woes. „Yes, yes!“ He nodded with a grieving expression and sat down again. „It’s awful! Everything was going well: I had finally wooed him after many years and we were even prepared to marry. But then that damned old geezer sent him down to the mortal realm!“ Qiu Ling grit his teeth.
„Which old geezer?“
„The heavenly emperor!“
„What?!“ The woman straightened up. „How come it’s him again?“
Qiu Ling lifted his brows. „Again? What are you talking about?“
The woman slipped to the seat next to him. „It’s like this: There’s this man I like and —“
„It couldn’t be Jing He?!“ Qiu Ling straightened up and fixed a vicious glare at her. „You won’t get him! Jing He is mine! I won’t let you take him away!“
„Of course not! Who wants the crown prince? The one I’m —“
„I want him! Who wouldn’t want him? He’s so beautiful, inside and out … Ah, Jing He …“ Qiu Ling stared off into space until the woman slapped his arm.
„Heh, I’m still talking to you!“
„Hm?“ Qiu Ling turned around. „So, you fell in love with the old geezer? But he’s already married?“
„How is Shun Tao married?!“ Yes, the one who had come to the teahouse was none other than Hong Bao. Who else would go around telling others she fell in love with the fate’s scribe?
„Shun Tao? Who are you talking about? Weren’t we talking about the heavenly emperor?“
„Who is talking about the heavenly emperor?“ Hong Bao scrunched up her face. „I’m talking about Shun Tao, the fate’s scribe.“
„The fate’s scribe …“ Qiu Ling tilted his head but couldn’t remember.
„You don’t know him? But he’s such an important person!“
The two of them stared at each other. „So … what about the heavenly emperor then?“
„He wants to kill him!“
„That bastard!“
„Why that?“
„I also don’t really understand. But it has something to do with the crown prince’s trial, too.“ Hong Bao’s shoulders drooped.
She had searched for the crown prince quite a while but still couldn’t find him. Her only clue was that he had something to do with a teahouse, so she had visited all the teahouses in the capital, but none of the people there could help her. Then, she finally saw this man flying out of a teahouse, grumbling something about ‚His Majesty‘. She had been so sure that the person he complained about was the crown prince! And when she followed him inside, there was indeed a frowning man that fit her mental picture of the crown prince perfectly.
But now it had turned out that she hadn’t found the crown prince but his lover! How could she be so unlucky?!
„Mn, his trial …“ Qiu Ling sighed. „I hope he finishes it soon. I don’t want to wait any longer.“
Hong Bao turned around to him and grabbed his hands. „Great!“
„What?“ Qiu Ling took his hands back. „I’m with Jing He. I won’t consider you regardless of how you approach me.“
„Who wants to approach you? I already told you: My one true love is Shun Tao! Why would I even try approaching you?“
„I’m handsome.“
„I don’t care about that!“
„You should. Being handsome is an extremely important asset to a man.“
Hong Bao pursed her lips. „Shun Tao is extremely handsome, too.“
„He can’t be that handsome. I’ve never even heard of him.“ Qiu Ling lifted his brows and looked around. Why was Qiang Wei still not back? He felt like continuing with drinking.
Hong Bao harrumphed but didn’t try to argue. He fell in love with somebody like the crown prince. His taste is probably just bad. Though, all of this might not be exactly like I thought. That heavenly emperor might play a bigger role than the crown prince himself.
„Listen to me!“ She grabbed Qiu Ling’s sleeve and pulled at the black fabric.
The dragon king looked at her fingers accusingly. That should be Jing He’s hand. He should have grabbed him like that and told him with tears in his eyes: ‚Qiu Ling, my love, please, don’t leave me for even one second. Even if I can’t remember anything while being in the mortal world, you have to follow me and make sure, I’ll fall in love with you all over again!‘
Ah, he would sweep him up into his arms, smile casually and grab his chin. ‚Don’t you worry, my dear, I won’t let you out of my sight! Wherever you go, I’ll follow along. Don’t you know that you are the most precious thing to me?‘
And then Jing He would smile and circle Qiu Ling’s neck with his arms, tiptoeing and pecking his lips. And then he would hug him closer, deepening their kiss and —
His arm was rudely shaken and he was pulled out of his thoughts. Qiu Ling grimaced. „What?“, he snapped at the woman.
„I said, you should listen to me! Don’t you want to get your lover back as soon as possible?“
Miffed, Qiu Ling turned to the side, pulling his arm away. He had just gotten to the good part … „Of course.“
„Then how about I help you? You see: that heavenly emperor wants to break us up! He said he’d kill Shun Tao if he can’t help the crown prince. But you yourself also said it would be better he goes back home soon and that he didn’t want to come here in the first place.“
Qiu Ling lifted one of his brows. He started to like what that little goddess was saying. „What are you getting at?“
„We should do something! Your lover doesn’t want to take this trial and you don’t want him to take it. Shun Tao has to suffer because of that heavenly emperor and I want your lover to come back so nothing will happen to Shun Tao!“
„Your point is?“
„We should help your lover to end this trial!“
„Mn. That would be nice.“ He stretched and leaned back and propped himself up with his hands behind his back. „Unfortunately, it’s impossible.“
„It’s not!“
„Sure it is. We’d need to kill him for that and I, for one, can’t do that. Even though he’s in another body right now, that is still him. I wouldn’t do something like that. And you can’t do it either, because I already know what you’re going to do and I wouldn’t allow you to kill him.“
Hong Bao shook her head. „How can you be so stubborn? Don’t you want him to go back to the nine heavens with you?“
„Of course. Ah, how nice would that be …“ Mn, he could imagine it. How Jing He would wake —
This time, Hong Bao slapped his leg. „We don’t need to kill him. I met the goddess of love and she told me that it’s not necessary to kill him to end his trial period.“
Qiu Ling lifted his brows. He didn’t know anything about that but he should have heard something that important, right? He pondered but finally shook his head. „No. Even if there was a way, you can’t do it. Jing He was adamant about taking this trial. Even though I don’t like it and want him back in the nine heavens I won’t betray his trust.“
„Are you sure?“ Hong Bao looked at him questioningly. „You know, if that was me and Shun Tao, I’d definitely do it. Wouldn’t he be happy being with me again? He probably already misses you.“
Qiu Ling’s gaze wavered. Mn, I miss him, too …
„I mean, he didn’t know any better before he started taking the trial. He could probably not even imagine how long he’d have to be without you.“
Ah, indeed! His Jing He, he probably couldn’t imagine something like this! And now, his soul was probably crying out for him, longing for his warm embrace and his sweet words.
„You really have to!“ She grabbed his sleeve once again. „If you don’t let me do it, then the heavenly emperor will kill Shun Tao tomorrow!“
„Oh? It’s that grave?“ Qiu Ling’s gaze went to the door. Jing He was out there. With somebody else, not with him. If he let this continue and Jing He woke up, he’d probably be devastated!
Just imagine: He might kiss that other person or do even more intimate things with him when he grew up. Wouldn’t he feel incredibly guilty when his trial ended?
No, he really couldn’t let this go on! But Jing He trusted him and the trial had been important to him. Argh, he needed some good advice!
„Let me think about it for a while.“
„What is there to think about?! Shun Tao will die!“
„If it’s about that … Just ask my mother-in-law for help.“
„Your mother-in-law?“ Hong Bao blinked. „The woman serving tea on the lower floor? What could she do?“
Qiu Ling rolled his eyes at her. „No, the other one. You know: The heavenly empress.“
Hong Bao pouted. „I can’t just go to the heavenly empress, can I?“
„Mn, that’s true, too.“ Qiu Ling pondered. Finally, he leaned forward and slammed his hand on the table. „I’ll go.“
„Mn. She’s my mother-in-law. Of course, I should go and talk to her. She’d certainly love to see me again.“ And she can definitely give me some good advice. And … I might even …
A slight smile played at his lips and he stood up. „Well, I’ll better go now. Don’t worry, little goddess, I’ll be back soon.“
„Oh, you don’t have to hurry. As long as you save Shun Tao, everything is alright. I’ll just wait here.“
„Mn.“ Qiu Ling smiled. Hid his presence and returned to the nine heavens, his heart beating wildly in anticipation.

OMF V1C91 Reserved For the Crown Prince

The woman, who didn’t seem to have heard the first half of what he said, finally froze at the last part. She looked up at him with wide eyes. „What did you just say?“
„Hmph!“ Qiu Ling harrumphed. „I told you to get lost! I’m not interested.“
„No, no. After that!“ The woman dropped her hands but still stared at him.
Qiu Ling shifted on his seat. Being stared at like that didn’t feel good. „Isn’t that enough?“
„No, no! What did you say about the crown prince?“
Qiu Ling tilted his head. „The crown prince? Of course, you can’t compare to him!“ He appraised the woman in front of him and snorted. „Have a look at yourself! In the mortal world you might be a beauty, but how could you compare to Jing He’s godly looks?“
„Oh, so you aren’t the crown prince …“ The woman’s shoulders drooped. She had been so sure that she had found the right person this time!
Qiu Ling nodded, but then jerked up. „What did you just say?“
The woman blinked in surprise. „I said what you said.“
„No! You didn’t!“
„I did!“
The two of them stared at each other, both unwilling to back down.
Qiu Ling, who was still drunk, finally tilted his head. Maybe he had really said what she said? Wait … What was it she said? „You … What was it you said?“
„The same as —“
„Then what did I say?“
„You said, you’re not the crown prince!“
„Of course! Why would I be him? I wouldn’t fall in love with myself, would I?“ His head tilted to the other side and he considered the possibility for a bit. „Well, I am really handsome.“
„Pft!“ The woman laughed. „How are you handsome?“
Qiu Ling looked up at her, completely flabbergasted. „What’s wrong with your eyes, woman? I’m the most handsome man in the dragon realm! Even that demon king who is rumored to be able to ruin a mortal kingdom with one glance isn’t better looking than me!“
The woman lifted her brows, clearly not believing him. Qiu Ling leaped to his feet.
„What is not handsome about me?“
She looked him up and down and her lips formed a straight line. „Everything?“, she said but it sounded a bit like a question.
Qiu Ling staggered backward. I’m … not handsome? My love, did you kiss that man because I wasn’t handsome enough? Qiu Ling hid his face behind his hands and sat back down.
„Wuwu … No wonder he kissed someone else! So I’m just not handsome enough!“ His shoulders shook, but then Qiu Ling jerked up once again. „I need to do something! How to become more handsome?“ He turned around to the woman.
„Uh … Well, you could stop frowning!“
Qiu Ling tilted his head and still frowned. After he had ascertained that this mortal face was the most handsome while frowning he had never forgotten to frown even once. Oh, no, when he kissed his beloved, he had stopped frowning and instantly smiled. But that was to be expected, so one couldn’t really count it as a slip-up, right?
Thinking about frowning, Qiu Ling finally had a revelation. „No wonder you said I wasn’t handsome! Of course, this appearance can’t compare to my true one. Have a look at this!“ He lifted one hand and changed back to his true face.
„Whoa!“ The woman was instantly dumbfounded. How had that average looking man transformed into such a beauty?! She hurried over to the table and sat opposite him. „You really look more handsome like this! What kind of trick is that?“
Qiu Ling smiled smugly. „Little goddess, what are you talking about? This isn’t a trick. It’s a measure of defense! If I went out in the mortal realm looking like this wouldn’t men and women alike be all over me? I have to make sure nobody can try to take advantage of me, so of course, I have to wear a disguise. My beloved certainly wouldn’t stand for it if I didn’t.“
Mn, this solved his problem. It certainly wasn’t because he lacked in handsomeness. He had just worn the wrong appearance! His beloved had missed him so much so he probably mistook someone else for him. Hadn’t he himself also gotten confused when talking to his mother-in-law? It was perfectly normal.
Qiu Ling nodded to himself. Yes, yes, perfectly normal. He had no reason to fret.
„He must be very much in love with you!“ The woman looked at him with shining eyes.
Qiu Ling narrowed his own. „What are you looking at me like this for? I already told you nobody but the crown prince can touch me.“
The woman frowned. „So the crown prince is your lover?“
„Mn, he is!“ Qiu Ling smiled with satisfaction. Finally, he had met someone knowledgeable.
„How can a handsome man like you have such bad taste?“
Qiu Ling froze. What was that about knowledge? That woman definitely had none of it! He leaped to his feet and pointed at her with a furious expression. „What are you saying, woman? Jing He is perfect in any way there is! Have you even seen him? He’s such a beauty! And he has such a good character, too!
Let me open your eyes for you, you stupid thing: Jing He looks like he’s been crafted by the heavens itself! He isn’t tall for a man, but still taller than a woman. He’s slender with a graceful charm. Even hugging his slim waist is a pleasure most people are unworthy of! Every limb of his is formed as if it was made to embody the word perfection. His skin is smooth and soft. Seeing that noble, creamy complexion of his, you can’t help but want to touch him. And his face … Ah …“ Qiu Ling sighed.
„How could you express its loveliness with simple words? His eyes are as dark as the deepest part of the sea. Looking into them is like looking into the deepest abyss, but one you are willing to fall into. No, not just willing!“ He lifted his hand to reject such a silly idea. „You long to leap into it. You know that doing so will be the best decision you’ll ever make in your life because you’ll find absolute bliss at the bottom of that abyss.“ Qiu Ling closed his own eyes and remembered that gaze he loved so much. „The way he is looking at you … Ah, it’s so peaceful. You feel your heart warming up and a gentle breeze caressing your soul when his gaze touches you.“
The woman seemed like she wanted to inject something, but Qiu Ling lifted his hand and smothered her protests. „Ah, that’s by far not everything! Saying it like this, you might imagine that you’ll get this impression only from his eyes. But that’s far from true! You know, there are also his eyebrows.
You might ask yourself what could be so good about eyebrows, but you’re wrong! Eyebrows like Jing He’s are just too beautiful to be true! They’re formed in a graceful, slender arc that directs your gaze from that exquisite forehead of his to his gorgeous eyes. Ah, seeing the outer corner disappear below his magnificent hair, your fingers will itch to trace their course!
And let me tell you, little goddess! You can’t claim to have lived if you have never seen his hair! Ah …“ Speaking about his beloved’s hair, Qiu Ling’s mood lifted. His eyes had a special shine to them and his lips unconsciously lifted upwards, making his face even more breathtaking. „His hair … the words to describe it elude me. I could tell you how soft it looks and how much softer it feels when you touch it, but you wouldn’t understand anyway and I certainly wouldn’t let you try it out! Wearing the finest silk every day can’t compare to the pleasure of being able to touch a strand of Jing He’s hair even once. Though, running fingers through them is addicting. Just doing it once would probably leave you with regret if you can’t do it again.“
Ah, yes, he himself regretted a lot right now! He wanted to hug him right now, one arm holding that waist he had praised just now and the other stroking these glossy strands. Mn, he certainly wouldn’t mind leaning in for a lingering kiss, too.
Qiu Ling’s gaze grew absentminded while he thought about that. „Mn, mn. That hair of his … Those lips …“ He just muttered on, not really thinking about what he said.
But by now, the woman was totally engrossed in listening to Qiu Ling. She still listened even though he seemed to have lost the thread. He has to be deeply in love to praise the crown prince like this! What a good guy!
Qiu Ling finally emerged from his thoughts. Seeing that he finally had an audience willing to listen to his praises about his beloved, he continued with newfound vigor.
„His lips, indeed, ah, they are just like the rest of him: They have that perfect form so that it always seems like he is slightly smiling. And that supple curve of his lower lip … isn’t it just an invitation to kiss him? I feel like the heavens knew he should be mine, so they made him perfect to make me unable to resist him. Ah, they definitely wanted us to be together!“
„How romantic!“, the woman injected.
Qiu Ling nodded earnestly. „It is, it is. But you shouldn’t say that now. I haven’t even started describing his character. Though, it doesn’t make any difference. I could tell you how gentle and refined Jing He is, how beloved by everyone, but you wouldn’t understand as long as you don’t experience it yourself. You’d need to hear his soothing voice and be hugged by him when you’re feeling depressed. Only then would you be able to acknowledge what a splendid personality he has.“
„Mn.“ The woman nodded, but she couldn’t help but think: Love really makes blind! He actually praised a bad person like the crown prince so much. „There is just one thing I don’t understand: If the crown prince is so perfect and already your lover then why did he kiss somebody else?“
Her question struck a nerve and Qiu Ling’s eyes instantly teared up. „What do you know? Isn’t that all because of this damned trial they asked him to take on in the mortal world? My poor love is suffering so much. I can’t watch it. And now they’re even trying to break us apart!“
Yes, Qiu Ling had found his explanation for the whole mess. And somehow, he had even found someone willing to believe his nonsense.