OMF V1C107 A Cruel Twist of Fate

Silence descended on the lower floor of the teahouse. Li Bo’s lackeys weren’t any less stunned than Madam Zhong or the female guests hiding in the corners of the teahouse.
„Ah … Ah Lei?“ Madam Zhong fell to her knees next to her husband and shook his shoulder. „Ah Lei?“ She waited but he didn’t get up or react in any way. „Ah Lei!“ She shook him once again but to no avail.
Madam Zhong’s hands trembled. This couldn’t be true. This couldn’t be happening! She had known this man since they had been children. He was the one who had smiled at her and convinced her to come back with him when she ran away from home at five years old. He had been the one to beat up that boy from the neighboring village who had dared to say something mean about her when she was ten. He had been the one to take her hand when she had just come of age and asked if she wanted to marry him.
He had stuck with her when she couldn’t get pregnant in the first years after their marriage. He had accompanied her when her father died and when she didn’t know how to cope with his loss.
He had been so considerate, so sweet … She had thought that they couldn’t be any happier until she finally got pregnant with Jing Yi. They had both thought the heavens were on their side and wanted to reward them for leading an honest life all these years. Her husband had become even sweeter and had given in to every strange demand of hers.
She still remembered how he had worried more and more about her well-being with every passing day and how he had run out in the dead of the night to get the physician from the nearest town when they noticed that something was amiss.
He might not be the best husband one could imagine but he was still the only one she needed, the only one she wanted! Nothing could happen to him!
„Ah Lei!“ Madam Zhong hugged him. Her eyes swam in tears but she fought them back. No, she wouldn’t cry. This … This wasn’t the end. There was certainly something that could still be done!
Madam Zhong looked up at the people around her, her tears still threatening to fall. Was there nobody who could help them? Anyone …
Qiang Wei, who had waited in the shadows of the teahouse to monitor Jing Yi, ran over and knelt beside her. His face was grim. As a dragon, he could already hear that Mister Zhong’s heart had stopped beating just now. But he, too, didn’t want to believe. He hoped for a miracle and took Mister Zhong’s wrist, fumbling for a pulse. Anything, just a trace of some life left in him would be enough. Just a heartbeat, only one …
Qiang Wei held his breath and calmed his own madly beating heart. His fingers steadied and he continued to search for some sign of life.
Nothing. He came up with nothing.
Qiang Wei closed his eyes. This was impossible. That kick had been forceful but not enough to kill someone. What had gone wrong? He searched for any clues but couldn’t find anything. Everything seemed normal. It was as if Mister Zhong’s time had just come.
Qiang Wei sighed with resignation and turned around to Madam Zhong. „I’m sorry. There is nothing I can do.“
Madam Zhong clasped her hands over her mouth, stifling a sob. She shook her head, not wanting to believe what she just heard. „No. No …“
„I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.“ Qiang Wei hung his head. He really wanted to help but there was just no way. There wasn’t anything to be done. Even the gods wouldn’t be able to save him. It was already too late. Somehow, heaven had claimed his soul.
Though, what Qiang Wei didn’t know — what known of the people present that day would ever guess — was that what had happened wasn’t this easy. This soul … it wouldn’t return to heaven and it definitely wouldn’t pass on to enter a new cycle of life. It had just disappeared forever.
That was what happened when the soul-devouring dagger’s blade touched a mortal’s husk: If the wound was deep, the soul would disintegrate then and there. But if the wound was shallow, the soul’s energy would slowly dissipate until nothing was left.
Nobody would notice until it was too late. And even if one had an inkling, there was nothing that could be done. Even the gods hadn’t known how to counter this cursed blade’s fatality and lost countless of their kin when the old demon king wielded it on the battlefield. How could mere humans contest this abominable weapon?
Even if they had known, they would have had to watch on. This was the cruel reality.
Like this, Zhong Jing Yi’s father, Zhong Lei, passed away on a bright summer day while birds were chirping on the roof outside. Those who weren’t in the know would believe it to be just another day of summer. Just like all the days prior to this one and all the days in years to come. But for the Zhongs and those that cared about them those coming days would never be the same.
Maybe this was how heaven tried to enforce its own laws.

OMF V1C106 Related to the Emperor

Mister Zhong might not be the sharpest tool in the box but he wasn’t totally dumb either. He couldn’t figure out what these three men were talking about but he knew he had to do something. They were definitely planning something with his son!
He grabbed Jing Yi by the shoulder and pulled him behind him, still trying to follow the golden rule of being courteous. „I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are saying, dear customer. What horses are you talking about?“
The women in the teahouse started gossiping at once. Fortunately, they had a good opinion of the Zhongs.
„That Li Bo again! My husband told me about him. He’s ripping off everyone in the capital just claiming whatever he wants.“
„Well, what can you do? He has a powerful backer. Even my uncle doesn’t dare to cross him!“
„Indeed, indeed. And his whole family is like that. Doesn’t he have two children? They’re even worse. Not caring for anyone. Li Bo gives at least some face to high ranking officials.“
„Some face that is! Have you heard what he did last week?“
„No. What happened?“
The women lowered their voices to discuss the latest developments to make sure Li Bo wouldn’t hear them. None wanted to embroil their husbands in the conflict.
But Mister Zhong had heard enough. So this is one of those hidden tigers Mister Pi talked about. He examined Li Bo but couldn’t find anything that seemed like a tiger. The man rather had the appearance of a fat pet cat pretending to be a predator. But maybe that backer of his is a real hidden tiger, Mister Zhong thought.
He wasn’t wrong, though he should probably take that crouching dragon of Mister Pi’s as a reference: Li Bo had some connection to the incumbent emperor. Not everyone knew which kind of connection that was but that was to be expected since these connections were always terribly complicated.
Indeed, summarizing it in one or two words was impossible. But one was still able to summon it up in one sentence even though it might not be that easy to understand then.
If one wanted to have a go, it might sound like this: The incumbent emperor was the elder brother of the husband of the sister-in-law of the cousin of Li Bo’s second wife Pei Chang.
The story behind the connection went like this: The incumbent emperor had five brothers. One of them he hated to the bones. With two of them, he had a rather lukewarm relationship and one he liked. And then there was the last one, his favorite brother, who was the person that constituted the link between Li Bo and the emperor.
This favorite brother of the emperor — as it was customary in the royal households — had two wives and five concubines. The third concubine was a woman named Hu Ai who — although she was said not to be the prettiest — somehow managed to monopolize her husband’s heart. This Hu Ai was the younger sister of a woman named Hu Chang who had married a man called Pei Wu. And this Pei Wu was coincidentally the cousin of Li Bo’s second wife, Pei Chang.
Saying it like this might not sound so impressive. But one could say that Li Bo had indeed a connection to the emperor and that was enough in the capital. Who knew how close Li Bo’s second wife was to her cousin and how said cousin doted on his wife? And what if that woman’s sister was so grateful to her for whatever she helped her with previously that she would fulfill every one of her wishes? That the emperor’s brother would do everything for that beloved concubine didn’t even need to be said. And of course, it was an easy feat for the emperor to grant his favorite brother every wish as long as he asked for it.
Since that was the case, nobody dared to cross Li Bo. And, to be honest, most people actually didn’t know how close the connection between the emperor and Li Bo really was so they just wanted to be cautious.
Mister Zhong didn’t know that, though. He could only repeat what he had said before: „I don’t know anything about any horses.“
„He still dares to lie!“ Xiao Nuo sneered. „Xiao Guo, we better inform the justice court now!“
„Yes, yes, better inform them now!“
Li Bo continued with his patronizing smile. „Please, please, how can you be so hasty? Let’s just talk this over. I saw that you urgently need these horses for your teahouse“, he commented toward Mister Zhong. „I’ll consider giving them to you and forgetting about this whole incident. Of course, I’m a poor man and can’t live off nothing. So you should give me something in return.“
Mister Zhong frowned. This didn’t sound bad to him but how could he just decide this on his own? „This is my cousin’s teahouse. How about you speak to him?“
Xiao Nuo piped up in lieu of his master. „What does this have to do with your cousin, huh? I only see you here! Are you trying to get more time so you can flee with the horses? We’re not that easy to trick!“
„I don’t —“
„We’d better go to the justice court right now!“ Xiao Guo grinned and crossed his arms.
Li Bo waved his arms as if to pacify them. To those who knew them, it seemed like a comedic act, though. For how long had they practiced this? „Don’t be hasty, don’t be hasty. Kind sir, you look like such a good and morally upright person. You wouldn’t want to be convicted for being a thief, would you? Think of your family! If you were imprisoned or exiled or even killed … What would become of them? Wouldn’t it be better to settle this without involving the justice court?“
„But I don’t know of any horses.“
„You’re still saying that!“
„Don’t you play dumb with us!“
Even Li Bo had some problems to cope with Mister Zhong’s approach of not relenting. Normally, people caved in as soon as they heard his name or at the latest when they saw him. Shouldn’t this guy know that it was futile to go against him?
„I really don’t —“
The servants had enough this time. The first one stepped forward and grabbed Mister Zhong by the shoulders while the second followed and punched him. The women in the teahouse shrieked, some of them withdrew to the back of the room while some leaped to their feet and hurried outside. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with this.
Madam Zhong finally noticed the commotion and came out of the kitchen. The tray in her hands dropped to the floor and she hurried forward. She grabbed her son and shoved him to Shao Hai, pushing the children behind her and glaring at the two servants.
„Let go of my husband!“
The two men eyed her but didn’t even think of letting Mister Zhong go. That guy still wanted to play dumb with them! Of course, they wouldn’t let him get away with it so easily.
Xiao Guo snorted and delivered a powerful kick to Mister Zhong’s chest. The other servant wasn’t even able to hold him because of the force. Mister Zhong tumbled to the ground and stayed motionless. He didn’t get up again.

OMF V1C105 Trouble at the Teahouse

It had been in the afternoon when Qiu Ling left the mortal realm. While he slept at Jing He’s palace and only woke up when the heavenly empress Bai Fen came by the next day, a few months had already passed in the mortal realm and Jing Yi had turned eight by now.
When Mister and Madam Zhong had woken up the next morning they had first taken a look at the courtyard and the street outside to look for traces of the fight they had heard. They couldn’t find anything, though. It seemed as if everything had been their imagination.
Madam Zhong didn’t think much of it until her son remembered his grandfather some days later. Qiu Ling would probably be heartbroken if he knew that it had taken nearly a week for the boy to even think of him. Most likely, he would be even more heartbroken if he knew that Madam Zhong had just smiled, patted Jing Yi’s head and said: „Don’t worry. Grandfather has something important to do. He might not return for a while. Just spent your time with Shao Hai instead.“ If he knew, he’d probably make his way over to the teahouse and clamor that she was a traitor. But of course, Qiu Ling knew nothing of all that, yet.
And Madam Zhong … she was quite relieved when he hadn’t returned even after a few weeks. She just didn’t know how to face him. She liked seeing her son getting closer to Shao Hai and behaving like a normal child for once. Seeing him smile and laugh and running around made her feel grateful to that boy.
She was grateful to Qiu Ling, too, but the expectations he obviously carried made her feel uneasy. She knew, neither her or her husband or her son would be alive without him but could she force her son into a relationship with him in the future because of that? And even now: Could she forbid him from making friends and having a normal childhood? She didn’t think so.
Not having Qiu Ling around freed her of the burden of having to deal with this problem. Deep inside she hoped he would only return when Jing Yi was grown up. She wouldn’t have to fret for the future then. Everything would solve itself.
Maybe that daoist would take a look at her son and understand that he wasn’t the person he longed for. He might give up then. Or maybe he’d still feel interested and Jing Yi would actually reciprocate those feelings. Then they could just become a couple and nobody would have to feel hurt.
The only problem would be if Jing Yi fell in love with somebody else first while the daoist master still liked him. What then? For now, Madam Zhong could only hope that something like that wouldn’t happen. But she wasn’t too worried.
That daoist master … if he wanted someone it shouldn’t be that difficult to woo that person, right? He was handsome and as far as she knew he had a good personality. As long as he didn’t get drunk or felt betrayed, that was. But that was something he’d probably not show when he just met someone. So who knew? Her son might really fall in love with him.
Soon, Madam Zhong had other things to worry about, though.
One morning, an obese man stopped in front of the teahouse, looking at the two stories with a dissatisfied expression.
„Is this the one?“, he asked the two servants behind them who eagerly nodded.
„Yes, yes! The owner is that Zhong Gang but the man working here is his cousin or something like that, called Zhong Lei.“
„Mn.“ The man pursed his lips and entered the teahouse. With a dismayed look, he counted the customers sitting at the tables.
On this day, the teahouse was once again completely booked: Every seat on the lower floor was occupied, every one of the small rooms on the upper floor reserved for guests and even the big room for special occasions had found an occupant. The most astonishing, though, was that all of the tables on the lower floor were occupied by women while all the rooms on the upper floor were occupied by scholars. Zhong Gang’s teahouse was just such a strange place.
Seeing the new customer, Mister Zhong hurried over. After a year in the capital and taking care of the teahouse for such a long time, he wasn’t as overly excited as at the beginning anymore. Now he could calmly great the guests, so of course, he wanted to do just that on this day, too. „Dear guests —“
„Hmph, what guests!“, one of the servants interrupted before he could even finish his greeting. „Is your small, dirty establishment good enough to attract the great Li Bo?“
Li Bo was, of course, the obese man in front. He pursed his lips even more but didn’t deign to say something himself. Why would he? He had brought his lackeys with him to do those lowly tasks in his stead! That was the privilege of the rich!
„Uh …“ Mister Zhong might have learned to greet customers but he had never been confronted with ones as difficult as this. Until that day the work at the teahouse had been smooth sailing. As such, his reaction was … a bit lacking? „If you’re asking like this … probably not?“ Mister Zhong furrowed his brow. „I’m not sure. Could you tell me who this ‚Li Bo‘ is?“
The women at the nearby tables chuckled. They had seen Mister Zhong stunned often enough to know he meant every word he said. Unfortunately, Li Bo and his two lackeys didn’t know him and thought he was mocking them.
„How dare you speak to us like that!“, the second servant roared, clenching his fists and shaking them at Mister Zhong.
Mister Zhong was dumbfounded and looked around for his wife. He had tried following the golden rule she had made clear to him: Always be polite to your customers! But somehow it seemed like the golden rule didn’t apply here? Why were they mad at him?
The first servant used this opportunity to chip in the reason for their visit: „What are you getting mad at, Xiao Guo? You shouldn’t have expected anything else from such a shameless person!“
Mister Zhong didn’t know how to react any longer. Unfortunately, it seemed like his wife was in the kitchen. What to do? He couldn’t just go and bring her over to talk to the guests, no?
Thankfully, his savior was near! Shao Hai had seen the obese man walking in and observed the following confrontation. He was a little older than Jing Yi and had already turned nine some months ago. He could see this was spelling trouble.
„Let’s go help uncle Zhong“, he said, gripped Jing Yi’s hand and pulled him over. „Uncle Li!“, he called out and looked up at the obese man with a deadpan expression.
He knew him and his two lackeys. Actually, every one doing business in the capital knew them because those three loved to make trouble! And they always got away with it. In fact, they had offended plenty of people but still didn’t have to pay for it. Making trouble for a family like the Zhongs was as easy as taking candy from a baby for them. And they definitely were the type of people who would a baby of its candy.
Shao Hai’s father, too, had had the bad luck of having to do with this Li Bo once. It hadn’t been a nice encounter. You could even say that Li Bo had ripped his father off but what could he have done? There was no talking things over with Li Bo. If he intended to make things difficult for you nothing could deter him. Well, besides a huge bribe, maybe …
Shao Hai still wanted to try. This was Jing Yi’s family, after all!
Li Bo stared at the children in front of him. He didn’t know who they were but his eyes started to shine at their sight. He bent forward and smiled, making the people around him shudder. „Oh! Who might these small munchkins be?“
Shao Hai curled his lips. „I’m the son of Shao Chen. You did some business with him.“
Li Bo couldn’t remember any Shao Chen and as soon as he heard that he stopped paying attention to Shao Hai and concentrated on Jing Yi. Never mind if that one is from another family, this child would be more useful anyway.
His smile grew even wider. „And what about you?“
Jing Yi clutched Shao Hai’s arm and half hid behind him. Shao Hai straightened up, feeling like he had to claim ownership now. „That’s my bride!“
Thankfully, Qiu Ling wasn’t there to hear that. Though, if he had been, he might have said the same line as Li Bo: „We’ll see about that!“
Shao Hai frowned and hugged Jing Yi to his chest. „What is that supposed to mean?!“ That Li Bo couldn’t be thinking of taking his darling away, could he?!
Li Bo only smiled, leaving the explaining to his servants.
The second servant took up where Shao Hai’s arrival had interrupted their act. „Didn’t Xiao Nuo already tell you? They’re such shameless people! Who knows if they can stay?“
Shao Hai frowned even more. „How can you say that about uncle Zhong and his family? They’re good people and only doing business here!“
„Hmph! Good people? Only doing business?“, the first servant snorted. „How can you say that with a straight face? Those people stole the great Li Bo’s horses!“
„Right! You better confess now!“
„Or else we’ll call the people from the justice court over!“
Li Bo smiled patronizingly. „Even though you’ve wronged me like that, I’ll leave you a way out since I’m such a good person.“ He gazed at Jing Yi, his smile getting wider.

OMF V1C104 A Woman Scorned

The heavenly emperor slammed his hand down on the armrest of his throne. „Audacious! Seeing your sovereign and still not greeting him? But what manner did I expect from a woman who would even try to kill an innocent child!“
Hong Bao flinched. Leng Jin Yu used the opportunity to grab her wrist and pull her to the ground. „Hold your head down. Don’t look at him“, he whispered to her and hoped she would listen to his advice this once.
Shun Tao shot her an uneasy glance. He was sure she had never learned how to behave in front of the nine heavens’ royalties. Why would she? She was just a lowly servant that should never even see one of them if nothing unexpected happened. Unfortunately, this unexpected thing had happened now. If she behaved the wrong way and angered the heavenly emperor, this could get even uglier.
The heavenly emperor couldn’t see Hong Bao’s face and assumed she was scared. Very well! You should be scared! Attempting to take my son’s life, I’ll show you what I’m capable of!
„Now, servant, you will tell us how you conspired to kill the crown prince. If you dare to leave out even one detail … We don’t mind getting the justice court’s Li Yin to loosen your tongue a bit.“
Hong Bao turned her head to the side and looked at Leng Jin Yu. Was she supposed to talk now? He nodded and Hong Bao sat up and looked at the heavenly emperor next. „I didn’t plot anything! I only wanted to help the fate’s scribe.“
„You still dare lie to us!“
Hong Bao pouted. That man must be the crown prince’s father if he was the sovereign. No wonder he was like that. „I didn’t lie! You can ask the goddess of love!“
Rong Su furrowed his brow. „Goddess of love? Who are you even talking about? There is no goddess of love!“
„Hah? But isn’t she standing right here?“ Hong Bao pointed at Yin Lin Lin. „She said I could help Shun Tao if I —“
„How dare you slander me!“ Yin Lin Lin turned around and leveled a freezing stare at Hong Bao to shut her up.
Hong Bao indeed faltered. What had happened to the elegant woman who wanted to help her? Why was she pretending not to know her? It couldn’t be that this woman was her twin, right? But no, that wasn’t possible either. Her twin should know of the goddess of love, too.
This once, Hong Bao was indeed right. Yes, this woman was the goddess of love that had offered her help to Hong Bao if one wanted to call it such. She had some history with Shun Tao and though it seemed like she had blurted out the truth of the matter regarding the crown prince in the heat of the moment, in fact, every one of her words was placed with deliberation.
She had planned for this situation from the very moment she heard the rumor about Shun Tao and Hong Bao. It had just been outside her expectations that there would be someone like Leng Jin Yu who would plead with the heavenly emperor to at least hear Hong Bao out.
Normally, a servant girl who was rumored to have tried to assassinate the crown prince should be killed by the heavenly emperor’s command given in a fit of rage. But somehow, this one had managed to be escorted into the hall and of course, she blurted the truth right out! What if the heavenly emperor believed her?
Yin Lin Lin hadn’t known that the god Hong Bao spoke of was the crown prince. She had thought Hong Bao was exaggerating and that it was just some unimportant person nobody would care about. So even if someone questioned Hong Bao and her involvement became known it wouldn’t matter. Considering her identity, the heavenly emperor wouldn’t make it difficult for her.
But it just had to be the crown prince! The heavenly emperor doted on him even more than on his own wife! Harming even one hair of his’ was asking to have your fingers broken one at a time! And now she had lend advice that nearly led to him being killed!
Oh, this damned servant girl! She’d make her pay for this!
While Yin Lin Lin was seeking bloody revenge, Hong Bao had recovered from her speechlessness. She wasn’t one to stay quiet anyway. Thus, Hong Bao pursed her lips and looked at Yin Lin Lin accusingly. „What are you talking about? You said yourself that you’re the goddess of love! And you also told me where to find that dagger and that it would be enough to injure him so that I wouldn’t have to kill him!“
Yin Lin Lin slapped her. „Shut up! What nonsense are you talking? Everyone knows that the soul-devouring dagger is a deadly weapon. What does it matter how much you injure someone with it? The soul will be lost anyway!“
Hong Bao held her cheek, tears glittering in her eyes. „I never wanted to kill him! I only wanted to stop his trial so that he could attempt it another time and Shun Tao wouldn’t be punished!. You said that wouldn’t be a problem!“
„You —!“
„That’s enough!“, roared the heavenly emperor. „We don’t care who said what to whom! We only care about the fact that someone tried to assassinate our son! If not for that dragon thwarting the assassin’s plans, he would have already died!“
Hong Bao’s face fell. She looked at Shun Tao but the fate’s scribe ignored her. Then she looked at Leng Jin Yu who only sighed. What was there to say? She had attempted to do that! Even if she was talked into it by someone, you couldn’t resolve her of all blame, could you?
Hong Bao bit onto her lower lip and looked up at the heavenly emperor. She had a bad feeling. „I … I don’t understand. The goddess of love just —“
„There is no goddess of love!“
Hong Bao winced and nodded. „She just said as long as one was cut by that weapon the soul will be lost. Is that true?“
The heavenly emperor snorted, not bothering to answer her. Qiang Yan sighed and took up that role. „That’s right. The soul-devouring dagger is a weapon we managed to wrest out of the demons’ hands. It is highly dangerous. However light an injury is, it’ll obliterate the soul of that person, even though a small injury will take more time than a large one.“
„But … I did cut the crown prince with that dagger. So … he … he is dead?“
All eyes went to Hong Bao.
„You … What … did you say?“ Rong Su only narrowly managed to press these words out. His hands trembled and his heart beat faster, cold sweat forming on his brow. He felt faint. He wouldn’t be able to take it if that woman nodded.
Seeing his brother-in-law going pale, Qiang Yan ran over. Though, he himself didn’t know how he stayed afoot.
In a rare show of perception, Hong Bao felt that answering wasn’t a good idea and stayed quiet. The tension in the hall climbed higher and higher until it seemed possible to cut it in two parts with a blade.
Finally, the rattling of wooden slips broke the deadly silence. Shun Tao was fumbling to open Jing He’s scroll of fate. His eyes scanned the words slowly forming. Finally, he looked up at the heavenly emperor with a pale face. He himself couldn’t believe what he had read.

OMF V1C103 Doesn’t Have the Intelligence

„Your Majesty!“ The woman hurried forward and curtsied. „Yin Lin Lin greets His Majesty Tianjun!“
„Mn.“ Rong Su didn’t bother replying to her and instead glared at his brother-in-law. Why did you let her inside? Couldn’t you have told her I was busy or — even better — not inside? At least hold her off for a while and send someone to give me a fair warning!
Qiang Yan shrugged barely perceptible. What could he do? That woman wouldn’t listen to him.
„Your Majesty!“, Yin Lin Lin cried out, her voice already getting on his nerves. „I came to report a shocking incident I was made aware of. A servant girl came and confessed to me that she had killed a god reincarnated for his trial in the mortal world!“
Rong Su nodded continuously and wanted to politely usher her out of the door when the implication of her words hit Qiang Yan.
„What did you just say?“
„Qiang Yan, I was speaking to His Majesty. How dare you interrupt!“
Rong Su straightened up at his brother-in-law’s words. Indeed, what had she just said? „Just repeat your words for us!“
Yin Lin Lin puckered her lips. She didn’t like the way the two were talking to her. But what could she do? Rong Su was the incumbent heavenly emperor while her status was lacking. „I said a servant girl came to me and confessed that she killed the mortal reincarnation of a god. Ah, that poor chap. He was attempting one of his trials but he must have crossed someone.“ Her gaze flitted to Shun Tao.
The fate’s scribe gritted his teeth. „What are you insinuating, Yin Lin Lin?“
„I’m not insinuating anything! I’m just telling His Majesty what happened. It’s not my problem your lover did something like that!“
„Hah?“ Shun Tao didn’t even understand but the heavenly emperor and the god of war looked at him immediately. „What … what lover? I don’t know anything about that!“
The heavenly emperor frowned. „You still dare to say that? Even we heard of that scandal.“
Qiang Wei hadn’t heard of any scandal since the men in the god of war’s palace wouldn’t dare to gossip in front of him but he had seen Shun Tao and Hong Bao. „That should be the servant girl you got close to.“
Shun Tao was still mystified. Which servant girl?
„Hong Bao“, injected Leng Jin Yu before falling silent again.
Shun Tao’s eyes went wide. „Hah? How is Hong Bao my lover? She only helped me out a bit.“
Yin Lin Lin stood up without waiting for the heavenly emperor’s permission and pointed at Shun Tao. „Shut up, Shun Tao! That hussy told me her whole sob-story of how you messed up someone’s fate and how she got afraid something might happen to you and how she had wanted to help you. Would she break into the god of war’s palace to steal the soul-devouring dagger if she wasn’t your lover? Damn, you must have hated that god very much to have even his soul ruined for eternity!“
Yin Lin Lin had turned away from the heavenly emperor and Qiang Yan. Pointing at Shun Tao, she smiled smugly. See that? ‚Fate’s scribe‘? Somebody like you, I can take out in one move! You had better not offended me. Now live with the consequences! That precious lover of yours certainly won’t see the end of this day!
The heavenly emperor and the god of war were both stunned and didn’t know what to say.
Leng Jin Yu pressed his lips together, feeling a little guilty. Had I not gone without a word and taken her with me to the god of war’s palace … Maybe she wouldn’t have done that? She’s way too naive and doesn’t know much about the nine heavens. She couldn’t have come up with something like stealing a dangerous artifact and killing a reincarnated god by herself.
He had seen enough in the mortal world and heard of enough in the nine heavens to know that somebody must have plotted against her. And Hong Bao wasn’t experienced enough to understand that. If somebody told her stealing the weapon and killing the reincarnation was the way to help the fate’s scribe she would just believe it and do exactly that.
This crime … It was enough to warrant her death. And unfortunately, the god they were talking about was even the crown prince. If he had really been assassinated with that weapon …
Leng Jin Yu jerked and turned around to Qiang Yan and the heavenly emperor, cupping his fists. „Forgive me for speaking out of turn, but I believe something doesn’t add up here. The servant girl in question should be Hong Bao, who helped the fate’s scribe with an assignment previously.
But if I heard correctly, the one attempting to assassinate His Highness was fought off by a man of the dragon race. As far as I know, Hong Bao doesn’t know how to fight. That man should have had an easy time subduing and apprehending her. As thus, the perpetrator should have already been handed over to the god of war’s palace.
Since that isn’t the case it is highly unlikely that Hong Bao is said assassin. Neither should she have been able to flee in such a situation nor should she have had the opportunity to report to this lady here.“
Qiang Yan rubbed his chin and nodded. „I’ve seen her only fleetingly once but I got the same impression, Your Majesty.“
Yin Lin Li frowned. „What is that supposed to mean? She told me herself that she killed him!“
The heavenly emperor looked from his brother-in-law to Yin Lin Lin and finally to Shun Tao. „Fate’s scribe, do you remember that Hong Bao-woman?“
Shun Tao nodded. „Yes. After I found out about …“ He looked at Yin Lin Lin and interrupted himself. „About that“, he corrected, „I tried to find the perpetrator. It didn’t seem wise to observe the possible targets myself so I asked a servant girl for help. I thought she might be less eye-catching doing such a task.“
„Do you think it possible for her to … do such a thing?“ The heavenly emperor’s expression was as frosty as the aura of a ten-thousand-year-old frost phoenix.
Shun Tao gulped and really took a moment to think about it. „I’m not as knowledgeable about fighting as the god of war but I, too, believe she wouldn’t be able to win against a dragon. Neither do I believe she has the intelligence to come up with such a plan in the first place.“ He coughed, slightly embarrassed on having to say something like that to His Majesty.
„Then why was she involved in the first place?“
„I asked a random servant for help since I felt that time was pressing. After noticing her … peculiarities, I found it quite fitting since I didn’t want anybody to find out in case anybody might try to take advantage of the situation.“
„Mn.“ Rong Su waved at his brother-in-law. „Have her imprisoned for now.“
Leng Jin Yu knelt down before the god of war could nod. „Your Majesty, please summon her at least so that she has the opportunity to explain herself.“
Rong Su frowned. First thing in the morning, he was told his precious son might die and he had to deal with this whole mess. He clearly didn’t care for some random servant girl! Even more so if she really was involved in his son’s near demise!
Qiang Yan saw his brother-in-law’s expression darken and intervened hurriedly: „Leng Jin Yu isn’t wrong, Your Majesty. This issue should be cleared up as soon as possible to make sure the demons aren’t involved. Questioning her early on might save us some time.“
Rong Su nodded. „Fine, then. Someone summon that woman.“
Leng Jin Yu sighed in relief while Yin Lin Lin gritted her teeth and leveled him a superior look.
Who is that guy even? Why is he going against me? He doesn’t look like anyone that important. It can’t be that he also has the hots for that lowly servant, can it? What’s so special about her? She looked at him a little longer and started to smile. Let’s see how long you’ll have that support, little girl!
Leng Jin Yu caught the gaze of the goddess in front of him and repressed a shudder. Why did he feel like he had been marked as prey just now?
Luckily, finding Hong Bao wasn’t as difficult as finding the heavenly empress: Just a little while later one of the heavenly guards brought her into the hall, directing the tension onto her.
Hong Bao didn’t seem to notice that, though. Seeing Shun Tao she smiled and her smile grew even wider when she saw the woman in the white dress standing next to him. „You’re here, too!“, she greeted before even acknowledging the heavenly emperor. „Does this mean what I did really helped?“
Leng Jin Yu put a hand to his forehead. Hong Bao … Do you know? What you just said is as good as confessing to your crime. Why did I work so hard to give you this opportunity?

OMF V1C102 Bad News

„What did you say?“ The heavenly emperor regarded Shun Tao with a strange gaze.
The fate’s scribe gulped. Damn. Did he just roar at the heavenly emperor? „This … I …“ Shun Tao repressed a sigh. At least he had finally dodged that explosive subject.
He knelt down again between the guards and took out the scroll of fate. „Your Majesty, I came to inform you that something went wrong with His Highness’ fate in his trial as a mortal. Until now, he still hasn’t been able to pass even a minor trial.“
The hall that had just been filled with the heavenly emperor’s roars and then with the steps of the guards plunged into an eerie silence. Shun Tao winced. Yes, he had expected this reaction.
„What …“ The heavenly emperor sat down on his throne again, grabbing the ends of the armrests. „What did you say?“
„His Highness —“
Hurried footsteps interrupted Shun Tao once again. „Brother-in-law!“ Qiang Yan didn’t even remember to speak the polite way to the heavenly emperor while other people were around. He only had one thought: Jing He!
„Brother-in-law, something bad happen—“ Qiang Yan stopped dead in his tracks, Leng Jin Yu directly behind him.
Where had all these guards come from? And who was that kneeling on the floor? He tilted his head and tried looking past the guards.
Rong Su waved the heavenly guards away and put a hand to his brow. „Please tell me you found out about what the fate’s scribe said and just wanted to report that. I can’t take any more bad news.“
That man was … the fate’s scribe? Qiang Yan coughed and stepped further into the hall, glancing at Shun Tao again. So, he probably confessed on his own accord?
No, that wasn’t important now! Qiang Yan turned back to his brother-in-law and reminded himself that other people were present. „God of war Qiang Yan greets His Majesty Tianjun.“
Rong Su waved again. „What brings you here?“
Qiang Yan hesitated. „I … came to report.“ He gulped and took a deep breath. „Someone attempted to assassinate His Highness, crown prince Jing He, in the mortal realm.“
The heavenly emperor leaped to his feet again. „What did you say?!“
Qiang Yan’s head drooped. „Someone tried to assassinate him. His Highness is unhurt, though. Thankfully, Qiang Wei of the dragon race was nearby and managed to thwart the assassin’s plan. Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that the weapon used for the attempt was the soul-devouring dagger. There was no time to investigate further but it has been stolen from the god of war’s palace sometime in the last week.“
Rong Su staggered.
„Your Majesty!“ Qiang Yan rushed forward and caught him, guiding him back to the throne.
„Qiang Yan, be honest with me.“ Rong Su grabbed his arm. „How is Jing He? My son, he … he wasn’t hurt with that thing, was he?“
Qiang Yan shook his head. „He wasn’t. Don’t worry, brother-in-law. But we were lucky that dragon was there. Else, this might have concluded differently.“
„You have to find out who dared to do something like that. And send guards down to the mortal realm. Jing He can’t stay without protection from now on out.“
Qiang Yan nodded. „I’ll do that at once. But … I have been informed something went wrong with his fate anyway?“ Qiang Yan glanced at Shun Tao again. The fate’s scribe sat on the floor, looking pale. „It seems he already told you?“
Rong Su nodded. „Fine, let’s talk about that. Ah, where’s Bai Fen?“
Qiang Yan lifted his brows. „I don’t know. I haven’t seen her today. Shall I send someone to get her?“
„Mn.“ Rong Su nodded again. „This doesn’t have to … no, this shouldn’t be discussed in front of unconcerned parties. It would be better if fewer people knew. Send someone you trust.“
„Mn.“ Qiang Yan turned around to Leng Jin Yu, who had followed him over, and pondered whether to send him back or to let him stay. He had informed him and knew quite a few things already, so it probably wouldn’t be a problem? Besides, after how Leng Jin Yu had dealt with this so far he was considering if he might be a good addition to the god of war’s palace. „Leng Jin Yu …“
Leng Jin Yu nodded.
„I’d like you to stay for this.“
„Of course.“ Leng Jin Yu nodded again.
Qiang Yan reciprocated and went outside. He had a look at the heavenly guards who had probably heard too much already. Those men were under his brother-in-law’s direct command, so he wouldn’t have to worry about that, though. Furthermore, the crown prince had always been popular with the guards. Those men would be cautious with what they said.
He waved one of them over but before he could say anything a woman sprinted up the staircase. „Your Majesty! Your Majesty!“ She wanted to ignore him and the guards and rush straight inside.
But were those guards mere decorations? Three of them stepped forward, two brandishing their weapons and the last one grabbing the woman by the shoulder and holding her down.
Qiang Yan frowned. „Who dares behave so atrociously in front of the heavenly emperor’s palace?“ He took a closer look at the woman and just barely repressed a heavy bout of curses.
Damn! What was this woman doing here? Could this situation really get any worse?
The woman lifted her head, her long black hair falling to the ground and anger written on her face. „Let go of me! I’m here to report to His Majesty! You’re all going to regret holding me back if His Majesty finds out that I couldn’t report this incident because of you!“
The guards looked at Qiang Yan, clearly unsure of what to do. Normally, they’d haul anyone away who dared to behave this way in front of the heavenly emperor’s palace but … this woman had a special identity.
Qiang Yan sighed. He was thinking the same way as the guards. „His Majesty is busy right now. Why not come back la—“
„I have to see him right now!“ She tried staring at Qiang Yan which wasn’t really fruitful in itself.
„He really is —“
„Damn it, Qiang Yan! Have you forgotten who my father is?!“
Qiang Yan smiled wryly. If I had forgotten, would I be standing here talking this civilized with you? No, I would have had these guards throw you down the stairs and told you to scram! „Look, it’s —“
„I have to see His Majesty!“, the woman insisted.
Qiang Yan was really getting a headache. Whatever. Let brother-in-law deal with her. „Fine. Let her go.“ He motioned at the guards to step back and waved one of them over to his side, lowering his voice so that the woman couldn’t hear him. „You go and tell Her Majesty, the heavenly empress, to come here as soon as possible. Tell her it pertains His Highness, the crown prince.“
The guard nodded and hurried away. Qiang Yan turned around to the woman and motioned to the palace with a fake smile plastered onto his face. „Then let’s go on in. I’m sure His Majesty will be thrilled to see you.“
„Hmph.“ The woman stalked into the hall as if it was part of her own palace.
The men in the hall looked over and froze. The heavenly emperor’s lips twitched and he threw an accusing glare at his brother-in-law while Shun Tao’s facial expression completely derailed.
„Yin Lin Lin?“ No, this couldn’t be true! Her coming here at this moment … this could only spell his doom.
Wait a moment … wasn’t he waiting for that all along? Maybe her coming here would just speed up the process. Well, he could still take that. Certainly. Maybe …

OMF V1C101 Nothing May Happen to Him!

Meanwhile, at another palace in the nine heavens, Leng Jin Yu stood in front of the gates and took a deep breath. He had finally resolved to go see the god of war about the things Hong Bao had told him the previous day.
Just when he wanted to enter a man’s silhouette appeared on the other side.
Qiang Yan stopped and raised his eyebrows. „Leng Jin Yu? Did you come to see me?“ He had been on his way to see his brother-in-law, the heavenly emperor, to make sure he didn’t go crazy while his son was in the mortal realm attempting his trial. Seeing this newly ascended deity in front of him was quite unexpected.
Leng Jin Yu pressed his lips together and nodded. „There is something I have to tell you.“
„Oh? Come on in then.“
„I hope I’m not disturbing you?“
Qiang Yan waved his concerns away. „I was on my way to His Majesty but I guess that can wait. You probably wouldn’t have come if it wasn’t important?“
Leng Jin Yu nodded gravely.
Qiang Yan watched his expression and couldn’t help feeling a bit worried. I’ve seen him just yesterday and he seemed quite calm then. How come he’s looking now as if something bad happened?
He led him into his study and poured both of them a cup of tea but unlike the last time Leng Jin Yu didn’t pick it up. His whole body was tense. If he wasn’t someone with a strong mind, he probably would have blurted out everything by now.
He still felt a bit torn, though. He knew it was the right thing to do but Hong Bao’s accusation still rang in his ears. He had never had to make such a grave decision.
Qiang Yan sat down opposite him, took his own cup and leveled a gaze at him. „So, what happened to make you so worried?“
„You probably know about this better than me but it seems the fate’s scribe was working on the crown prince’s mortal fate recently?“
Qiang Yan’s heart dropped. He had a very, very bad feeling about the direction this was going. „Yes“, he said with a tilt in his voice as if he wanted to ask a question instead.
„It seems like … something went wrong.“
Qiang Yan dropped his teacup. The hot liquid flowed over the table and dripped down to the floor but he didn’t even notice. There wasn’t much that could throw the god of war off course but this was one of those things.
„What happened?“, he asked flatly. Please, let it be salvageable! Nothing bad may happen to him! He had watched that boy grow up. He wouldn’t be able to take it if he was hurt or … even worse. And there were still his sister and brother-in-law who would probably go crazy if anything had happened. That was their only child they were speaking about!
„It seems that his fate went off track. He couldn’t pass any trial —“
Qiang Yan leaped to his feet. „I have to tell the heavenly emperor!“ He hurried to the door, about to run to his brother-in-law’s palace.
Leng Jin Yu stood up slowly and turned around to face him. „I know it is not my place to say this but I would advise against this.“
His words stopped Qiang Yan one step out the door. „Why?“ He was anxious to tell his brother-in-law but his reason still let him halt. He might not have heard everything. Alarming his brother-in-law without knowing all the facts wouldn’t be a good idea. The heavenly emperor might just get a nervous breakdown, considering this concerned his beloved son.
„First of all, there is nothing the heavenly emperor could do right now besides summoning the fate’s scribe and lecturing him. As far as I know, the fate’s scribe has tried to salvage the situation several times but failed continuously. It stands to reason that someone is intentionally sabotaging him or targeting the crown prince. Therefore, I believe that the most pressing matter now should be to ask the fate’s scribe directly for all available information and find the culprit. After that information is found the heavenly emperor should be informed.“
Qiang Yan furrowed his brow. What Leng Jin Yu said sounded logical but … this was his nephew they were talking about. His sister’s only child even after all those years of marriage. His brother-in-law loved him so much … If he found out that something had happened and nobody had informed him … He didn’t want to imagine the outcome.
„The heavenly emperor is his father. Even if he can’t help at the moment, he should be informed.“
Leng Jin Yu didn’t answer. Qiang Yan averted his gaze, hesitated and finally went back to his seat. He couldn’t see clearly at the moment. The fact that it was his beloved nephew they were talking about here clouded his judgment. If that was any other person he would probably not speak with the family until he had found out every information needed. He should do the same now.
„Fine. Then let’s pay him a visit.“
Leng Jin Yu nodded. Together the two men got up and made their way out of the god of war’s temple. They had just reached the front hall when a guard ran toward them. The man stopped in front of Qiang Yan and cupped his fists. „Reporting! His Highness, crown prince Jing He, was embroiled in an assassination attempt. The incident was made known through one of the dragon folk. The attempt could be thwarted but we weren’t able to apprehend the perpetrator.“
Qiang Yan’s face lost all color and he turned around to Len Jing Yu but he could only see the same disbelief written on his face. How had that suddenly happened? The crown prince’s fate going off track was surprising enough. But now somebody had even tried to assassinate him?
This couldn’t be some desperate attempt of the fate’s scribe to adjust his nephew’s fate, could it?
Qiang Yan closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Calm yourself. It was just an attempt. Whoever it was hasn’t succeeded. You can find out everything and inform your brother-in-law after that.
Unfortunately, just as Qiang Yan had calmed himself down, another guard ran over and this man was so distraught that he didn’t even manage to stop in front of Qiang Yan and instead fell to the ground. „Reporting! Someone stole the soul-devouring dagger!“
This … couldn’t be a coincidence, right? Forget asking the fate’s scribe! Forget investigating anything! Qiang Yan didn’t wait any longer. He turned around and ran all the way to the heavenly emperor’s palace. He needed every man available. This could pertain to the survival of their whole race.

LWS Chapter 56 Something Must Have Happened

On the other side of the city, Nie Chang was pacing up and down in the street next to Su Yan’s apartment. He really couldn’t believe what had just happened. Could it really be that Su Yan’s mother had just called him to share some relationship advice? And had he really heard her calling him her son-in-law? What was going on here?
He took out his phone and frowned at the screen. A quick look at his call log showed that he indeed hadn’t hallucinated. Or, well, maybe he was still inside a dream? Then again, he had already gotten that strange message a few days ago that somehow helped him to get closer to Su Yan. It wasn’t completely ridiculous for Madam Su to step in. Maybe he just had a lot of luck lately.
Just when he wanted to put his phone away the screen lit up once more: [Future Wife]
Nie Chang smiled. That couldn’t already be the call his future mother-in-law had talked about, could it? He took a moment to get his excitement under control before he picked up.
„Yes?“
„Ah Chang …“
Nie Chang instantly frowned. „What happened?“ Su Yan’s voice sounded weak, nothing like the usually energetic tone. Even when he was down his voice wasn’t as feeble. He sounded like something was wrong and the fact that he wasn’t answering didn’t make it any better. „Ah Yan, what happened? Are you alright?“
Just then, there was a crash in the background. „Su Guanting, I dare you to do that again! So what if our son is gay? That’s still our child! Other people can say whatever they want but I won’t let you treat him this way!“
Nie Chang paled. Madam Su was loud enough for him to hear every word clearly and she only ever got loud for Su Yan’s sake. The fact that she was screaming madly must mean that something had gone completely wrong.
„Ah Yan!“ Nie Chang’s heart ached. „What happened?“
„Can you come and pick me up?“ Su Yan’s voice still sounded just as faint.
Nie Chang sighed. At least he had responded. He ran to his car sped in the direction of the Su’s residence.
Su Yan heard an engine revving on the other side. He slid down on the wall and just sat there, dazed. He also didn’t know what had actually happened. He just knew that he had felt dizzy from the moment his father had slapped him. His old man shouldn’t have that much strength, should he?
Su Yan frowned. He honestly didn’t know. He just wanted to see Nie Chang now and try what his mother had advised him to do. He didn’t want to live with this feeling of not knowing how to face Nie Chang any longer.
„Ah Yan, talk to me.“ Nie Chang’s soothing voice came from the other side of the house, calming his thoughts a bit.
„Mn.“ Su Yan nodded and closed his eyes. Maybe he should go and open the door? Nie Chang certainly wouldn’t take long. Didn’t he always arrive immediately when he needed him?
Su Yan clutched the wall behind him and slowly got up. The room spun even faster. „Uh …“ His phone fell to the ground with a clatter. He extended his arm to pick it up but the room was still spinning. Finally, he gave up and just shuffled in the direction of the front door.
„Ah Yan!“ Nie Chang cursed and accelerated the car. Something was obviously wrong!
Finally, the residence came in sight. Nie Chang sped up the gateway and harshly brought the car to a stop. He didn’t care for the protesting wheels and just pushed open the door and ran to the residence.
„Ah Yan!“ He rang the doorbell and hammered against the door but the only thing he heard was the furious voice of Madam Su from somewhere in the house.
„Just go on like this and I’ll divorce you!“
Nie Chang gulped. Whatever had happened was probably really bad if she even wanted to divorce him. Those two normally were a harmonious pair judging from the times he had come over when Su Yan and he had still been in school.
„Ah Yan!“ Nie Chang grew anxious. He rang the doorbell again. Damn, can’t you at least stop arguing to look who’s at your door? What if it’s someone important?
He took his phone out again. „Ah Yan! Ah Yan, can you hear me?“ He listened intently but there was still only the angry voice of Madam Su. Shit. He had probably dropped the phone somewhere.
Nie Chang had never felt this helpless in his life. He knew Mister Su. That guy had a short fuse and high expectations. Considering what Madam Su had said he had probably figured out what had happened between them. It wouldn’t be that surprising if he hurt Su Yan.
Nie Chang ended the call and went to his call log to get Madam Su’s number instead. Before he could tap the right one the door in front of him actually opened.
Nie Chang’s eyes went wide. „Ah Yan! What happened to you? Where did this blood come from?!“
Su Yan frowned slightly. Blood? He looked around but couldn’t find any. Whatever. He reached out to Nie Chang, asking for a hug.
„Let’s get you to the hospital!“ Nie Chang ignored his extended arms and just picked him up from the ground. Then, he hurried to his car and put Su Yan on the passenger seat, before running to the other side and getting behind the steering wheel. „Let me help you.“ He leaned over and tried to fasten the seatbelt but Su Yan frowned at him and grabbed his hand.
„What are you doing?“
„Fastening your seatbelt. We have to get you to the hospital. You’re hurt.“
„You haven’t hugged me back.“ Su Yan’s face scrunched up.
„Hah?“ Nie Chang couldn’t understand but he grew instantly flustered. Why were there tears in Su Yan’s eyes?
„You didn’t hug me back! You don’t like me. How could you do this to me? Tell me! Who is it? Who the hell is the guy that seduced you?“
Nie Chang closed his eyes. Honestly, was this the moment for confessing their feelings? He bent over and pecked Su Yan on the lips. „Shut up or I’ll really let somebody else seduce me.“ Then, he fastened the seatbelt and hurriedly started the engine again.
Su Yan looked at him in a daze. He couldn’t even understand on a normal day. How would he be able to comprehend Nie Chang’s actions when his head hurt this much? In the end, he just closed his eyes and leaned against the window. He’d ask him again when he woke up.

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.
„Guards!“
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?“
„Mhm.“
„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!“