Never before in his life had the Fate’s Scribe Shun Tao felt frustrated because the passage of time was different in the mortal and immortal realms. But on this day he dearly wished that Heaven would just send lightning, aligning both realms and giving him a little more time to finish his task.
But however much he wished for it something like that wouldn’t happen. His lips tightened into a straight line Shun Tao took a cookie and bit into it.
Mn. Hong Bao’s cookies were the only good thing about this whole mess. Continue reading →
Jing Yi hurried back to the shrub where he had hidden when his father took him to the forest. He sat down and looked around as if waiting for the old man to appear.
Qiu Ling observed him from behind, sighed and transformed once again. His perfect plan had been thwarted. He had to get it back on track! And … he had to tell Jing Yi that waiting in the forest like this wouldn’t be of help if he was looking for a person. Who knew if a normal passer-by would still be there after a whole day?
“Oh!” Qiu Ling stopped hiding his presence and like the day before, he bent down and peered into the shrub. “What’s in there today? A little animal?” Continue reading →
“Your … Your Majesty.” Shun Tao gulped again and slowly lifted his head. He didn’t even spare a glance at the man next to the Heavenly Emperor and instead focused all his attention on that serious face.
Oh no, it’s over. He knows. Or even if he doesn’t know, he will soon.
Shun Tao lightly coughed and stood up from the ground, switching into a proper bow. Cold sweat grazed his brow. “Fate’s scribe, Shun Tao, greets His Majesty, Tianjun.”
“Mn.” The Heavenly Emperor motioned for him to get up, then nodded towards the courtyard. “Fate’s scribe, what are you doing here?” His lips still twitched, trying to raise into a grin. But, ah, he should try to uphold his mighty image. Continue reading →
Qiu Ling lifted his hand, his magic surged and his robes once again seemed to change form. This time they didn’t look like the robes of a Daoist cultivator though. Instead, they seemed like the clothes the ordinary people in the countryside wore because they were convenient to move around in. If one didn’t look at the face, Qiu Ling might have been one of the men from the surrounding villages. Well, and one should also ignore the fact that there wasn’t even a single speck of dust on his clothes which certainly wasn’t normal.
After the trouble from the last time, Qiu Ling considered these problems. He couldn’t do anything about the dirt since his beloved hated it but with another wave of his hand, he changed the rest of his appearance. His long hair turned as white as snow and his body aged until his face was scrunched up in wrinkles. Continue reading →
“Ah, that must be your son, Madam Zhong. May I?” Qiu Ling pretended to be surprised as if he hadn’t expected Zhong Jing Yi to be there. Well, he only threw Madam Zhong a careless glance and took a step forward without waiting for her approval though. He definitely couldn’t leave his poor beloved in the hands of that man! He had to get him back!
The villagers hurriedly parted to make way for him. After all, this was a mighty Daoist Immortal! Their village couldn’t bear to offend such a person.
Mister Pan who had went to fetch Jing Yi hadn’t been there when Qiu Ling appeared and showed his might. Confused, he glanced from one side to the other and then at the man at the other side. “Er … What happened?” Continue reading →
Mister Zhong gulped. He shook his wife’s shoulder and sat up, forcing himself to smile at the man while he was shivering inside. Madam Zhong opened her eyes. It was still dark. The sun had just started to rise, painting only a sliver of the horizon in a lighter gray. She wanted to ask what had happened for her husband to already wake her up when she saw the man.
A bandit! Continue reading →
The next days passed without incidents and the Zhongs finally reached the forest at the foot of the Long mountain range. If any dark clouds dared to approach their path, a certain dragon king chased them away with an even darker expression. Those things shouldn’t even think of scaring his beloved! Well, at least not until he was old enough to run to him to be pacified.
Before they stepped into the forest, Mister Zhong excitedly turned to his son and pointed ahead. “Look there! Do you see there, behind the forest? That’s a dragon that rested there and fell asleep. Maybe it’ll wake up when we go there?”
Jing Yi froze. A dragon? He had never heard of dragons before but it sounded just as dangerous as a rabbit. He looked at his mother with wide eyes. Continue reading →
Early the next morning, the Zhongs set out toward the capital. It would take them about six weeks to reach there. After all, they would have to cross the plains and pass through the forest at the foot of the Long mountain range before they would arrive in the far north.
Legend had it that the dragon that helped the first emperor in establishing their kingdom had turned into stone and that the capital had been built where its head rested. If any tragedy befell the capital, the dragon would open its eyes again and rise to drive off their foes. Well, there hadn’t been any war that reached the gates of the capital for several millennia so who could say if it was true or not? Continue reading →
Jing Yi told his parents what Qiu Ling had said about the letter’s content. The Zhongs discussed and started packing their belongings the same day, intending to head towards the capital the next morning. There wasn’t much they had to take with them. Some clothes, the little stash of copper coins they had saved up, and something to eat for the first days on the road. They were done soon so they went outside to bid farewell from the other villagers. Who knew if they would see each other again?
Mister and Madam Zhong looked quite serious which garnered the attention of Mister Pi and Madam Pan at once.
“Mister Zhong, what has happened?” Mister Pi couldn’t help but ask.
“My cousin sent a letter from the capital.” Continue reading →
Just like the Fate’s Scribe had written in Jing He’s scroll of fate a letter reached the house of Zhong Jing Yi’s family shortly after he had turned eight years old. He curiously eyed it, not understanding what his father held there. When his father didn’t explain he looked up at his mother.
His habit of asking silently and not speaking much still hadn’t been cured. If he talked, then mostly to his mother even though he had warmed up to his father a little more over the course of the last four years. Maybe this was something he had carried over from his life as Jing He.
Madam Zhong patted his head. “It’s a letter. Your father’s family probably sent it from the capital.”
Unfortunately, neither Mister nor Madam Zhong could read.
“How about … we ask Mister Pi for help?” Mister Zhong looked at his wife with his brows knitted together. They needed help to read the letter but everyone knew how much Mister Pi loved to gossip. If he read the letter to them, he’d certainly tell each and every person within a radius of twenty li about it later. They didn’t want that.
“Who else?” Madam Zhong sighed. Who knew what had happened for the main family to contact them?
The ones who lived in the capital were Mister Zhong’s cousin, Zhong Gang, and his family that consisted of his wife Mi Fang and their daughter Zhong Guanyu. Zhong Gang’s father had moved there from the small town he had been born in to open a restaurant. The initially small business had started to do better with the years. So it could be said that Zhong Gang’s family was far better off when compared to the Zhong’s from the village.
Jing Yi blinked at the letter. “How about asking grandfather?”
The grandfather he talked about was, of course, Qiu Ling. Mister Zhong’s, as well as Madam Zhong’s, parents were both dead so he had no older relatives in the village. Calling Qiu Ling his grandfather had somehow stuck from four years ago much to Qiu Ling’s misery.
Madam Zhong nodded. She felt that the Daoist Master would help Jing Yi with everything he asked for and reading one letter should be a small task for him. They wouldn’t inconvenience him with that.
But Mister Zhong wasn’t so sure. “Isn’t it a little exaggerated to ask a Daoist Master here just to read a little? Mister Pi might gossip but it’s not that bad, right?”
Madam Zhong lifted her brows. “Not that bad? Who knows which heretic practitioner they’ll find this time.” Yes, Madam Zhong was still furious about that incident from eight years ago.
Jing Yi didn’t care for his father’s opinion. He had already taken the letter and ran out of the house with it as soon as his mother nodded. He had called Qiu Ling a few times over the last four years to spend time with him. He hadn’t needed his help even once. But whenever he called him he did so in the forest at the shrub where he saw him for the first time. His mother had told him that it wouldn’t be good to let other people see the Daoist Master.
Once again, Jing Yi stopped at the shrub, took out the bracelet and held it between his hands. By now they were big enough that he didn’t have problems grasping it anymore.
Qiu Ling appeared before him with a wry smile. Still calling me that … He really hoped Jing Yi would be old enough soon to understand that that wasn’t really appropriate.
To help his beloved along with this realization he had even started to appear less aged before him. Only half the wrinkles decorated his face now. He didn’t look like he was eighty years anymore. More like … sixty-five.
Mn, he felt like he had made a good move. If his age regressed while Jing Yi grew older they could meet somewhere along the way. But, well, that was still something for the future.
“Grandfather, someone sent a letter! Can you read it?” The boy handed him the letter.
Qiu Ling had a casual look before folding the letter again. He’d love to make something up but he was afraid the Zhongs might find out so he could only tell the truth.
“They are asking your family to come to the capital. Your father’s cousin seems to have opened up a second business and needs someone working there. He thought it would be a good opportunity for your family.”
Jing Yi tilted his head. “So, we’re going away?”
Qiu Ling nodded. “If your parents want that. What? You don’t like that idea?”
Jing Yi thought about it and shook his head. “It’s alright. As long as mommy comes with us I don’t mind going to the capital.”
Qiu Ling felt like crying. That was the only thing his beloved ever thought about, right? Only his mother …
He handed the letter back to Jing Yi, feeling once again that time moved too slow in the mortal realm.
Jing Yi looked at the paper and then up at Qiu Ling. “When we go to the capital will you still come when I call you?” He seemed a little sad which lifted Qiu Ling’s turn.
He generously patted his little head. “Mn. Of course. As long as you have that bracelet you can always call for me.”
Jing Yi smiled sweetly. He wouldn’t miss anything from the village. He had always run away when he saw one of the girls like Qiu Ling had proposed. The boys from the village had teased him quite a few times when they saw him but Jing Yi didn’t go out much so there weren’t many opportunities and he also didn’t care. Soon after, the boys gave up and Jing Yi could be said to have lived more or less isolated for the last years.
Thinking about that … Qiu Ling felt a bit guilty. Jing He had grown up with an insurmountable distance between him and the other gods his age. It couldn’t be helped with him being the son of the Heavenly Emperor and the crown prince of the Nine Heavens. He was just too valuable for his people. Who would dare let him grow up like a normal child?
Now, in this mortal life of his, he could have had such a childhood: Loving parents, friends his age, a first love that he might be embarrassed about in a few years … And the person who took that from him was he, his lover. The person who should only want the best for him. But because of his jealousy, he had prevented him from getting something that Jing He surely would have loved to experience.
Qiu Ling sighed inwardly and let go of Jing Yi. “You should hurry home and tell your parents. Maybe … Maybe the capital is exactly the right place for you.”
“Mn!” Jing Yi smiled, waved at him and ran off again.
Qiu Ling watched him, feeling downcast all of a sudden. Had he created unnecessary trouble for his beloved? Should he let him be free in the capital?
But just thinking of how Jing He fell in love with anyone but him made his heart convulse with pain. Qiu Ling clenched his fists. Even though he knew that it wasn’t the right thing to do, he would still do it. Jing He … He would surely understand. He knew him good enough already.