“Father, I think I like someone,” I said with a sigh. I sat on a stool beside him as he perused his papers.
He looked shocked. He suddenly muttered under his breath, “Who in hell dares to seduce my daughter! Does he not want to live anymore!?”
“Father!” I giggled. “I still love you and mother the most.”
I cuddled close beside him, wrapping my arms around his torso. He visibly relaxed.
“Who is this man?” he asked solemnly. “I’ll try not to punish him too much…” his words were barely audible.
Those two words caused him to pale. He looked like he had turned into stone, so I poked him until he recovered.
“Is it so surprising?” I pondered aloud. “Don’t get me wrong father, he doesn’t even know I exist!”
He relaxed even more. “That’s fine then. I don’t ever want to be blacklisted by him.” He shuddered visibly. “I thought I could whip the man a few times, but when I heard it was the God of War, I would be whipped instead!”
“Shouldn’t you support your daughter’s love?” I wasn’t amused.
He coughed. “Better to find someone who isn’t so…terrifying. Who knows what he’ll do to you behind closed doors!”
Behind closed doors? My imagination went into overdrive. There would obviously be a bed. And two people. Me and him. On the bed. Doing things…
“Daughter! Why did you suddenly have a nosebleed?” My father pressed his white linen handkerchief against my nose hastily.
I laughed awkwardly. “Nothing, nothing.”
I took the handkerchief from him and twisted it up both of my nostrils. The white cloth was slowly being dyed red.
“As I was saying, choose someone else. There are lots of venerable deities in Heaven. Being the niece of the Jade Emperor, anyone would want to take your hand in marriage!”
I just nodded in assent, but my mind was elsewhere.
It went on like this for a couple of years, and the spiritual beings in the netherworld were filled with anxiety. The me who loved to go around causing a ruckus turned into someone who sat quietly in a corner, looking at the sky. Sometimes I would laugh manically, which caused them to feel deep fear. My reveries were becoming even more fervid as the years progressed.
When Siming gave me romance novels to read, I was even more starry-eyed. She pilfered them from vendors in the mortal realm when she had gone to visit, and she had stacked up quite a number of them in her palace. She said they were to give her inspiration in her writing about people’s fates. No wonder there was a story one soul told me, about a man who found out later on that he had actually loved his mother in a sexual way…
Siming, what were you thinking!
Sometimes I would visit my mother in the Jade Palace in Heaven, also hoping that I would run into Jin Lei. My wishes weren’t granted, and I never saw him again even as I reached the ripe old age of 70,000 years.
Mother was the Jade Emperor’s younger sister, so I was the Jade Emperor’s niece. The Emperor didn’t have any children nor did he have a wife, so he doted on me very much since I was born. I was blessed to have so many people who loved me, and because I was protected by my backing, no one would ever dare to be rude to me. I was an existence that was powerful in both Heaven and the netherworld. That was why I was able to do anything I pleased, but I never went beyond boundaries. One thing I hated was being lectured and having to repent.
“Uncle Emperor!” I greeted upon seeing him.
I was the only one who could greet him in such a way. I had developed this habit since young, and although his servants were shell shocked at first, my uncle didn’t mind one bit. Rather, he would give me such a warm and coddling smile that I would turn into a puddle. Traditional greetings didn’t exist between the both of us, and I was glad I didn’t have to kowtow to him thrice.
“My little Juju.” He held an elegant arm out, coaxing me to come closer to his side. If I was a dog, my tail would be wagging at this moment. I loved hugging people I loved.
“Uncle, where’s mother?” I asked.
“She is in her courtyard. You want me to accompany you?” he asked, smiling gently down at me.
“Your Majesty, if I may interrupt. You were on your way to inspect the crater that the Demon Lord had made…” his steward said anxiously.
“That can wait until tomorrow. My cute niece is here, after all.” The emperor laughed, hiding his lips behind a feathered fan.
“As you wish, Your Majesty.” The steward bowed.
“Uncle, are you sure?” I didn’t want him to avoid duty because of me, as I would feel guilty.
“It is of no big consequence.” He held my hand. He was a head taller than me, and I always felt like a child whenever I was with him. After all, he was much more mature. In terms of years, I was basically an infant compared to him.
My mother was basking in the sun in her courtyard, servants standing in perfect rows behind her. It was cherry blossom season, and the cherry blossom trees that almost encompassed the entire area were in full bloom. Pink leaves littered the ground, causing an ethereal effect. Contrasting to her beauty which was said to be a solid Top 1 in the ranks in Heaven, this scenery was simply mesmerizing.
But how she could love someone like my father was beyond me… sorry father.
“Juju, my love!” Her eyes sparkled when she saw me, and she sat up on her divan.
“Mother.” I went to her and kissed both her cheeks. She then rubbed her cheeks against mine like a cat. This mother of mine was overly affectionate all the time.
“My Juju is still the cutest in the world,” she cooed.
“Mother, I’m not a child anymore…” I said bitterly, but I still felt my heart become warm.
“You’re my child, so you’re a child!” She said defiantly, squeezing my cheeks. I didn’t really understand her way of thinking, but she was always this way. I shook my head at her fondly.
We had afternoon tea in her courtyard, and the maids brought in the golden chairs from the palace to seat the three of us. A round, jade table was also transferred.
“I heard that Jin Lei will be undergoing his trials to attain higher divinity,” my mother said as she delicately sipped her tea.
My ears seemed like they increased ten times their size.
“Yes,” uncle replied. “Three trials in fact. He shall be going to the mortal realm tomorrow.”
My mother smiled. “He is a very courageous boy.”
I didn’t think boy would be the correct term, though. Jin Lei was definitely a man! The man of all men! My man!
My sudden lewd thoughts made me choke on my tea. Both my mother and uncle shot a worried glance towards me, but I waved away their concerns.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Please talk more about the God of War. I’m quite interested in this discussion.” I lifted a napkin to the corner of my lips.
Unfortunately, the discussion veered towards a different direction, and both of them didn’t mention Jin Lei again. They were touching on politics which I didn’t have any interest in.
“Mother, you should visit father sometimes. Even if you’re divorced, he’s quite lonely.” I looked at her and pouted. Both of them had gone through a rough patch during the first few millennia of my life, and although I didn’t know the specific reason, I still saw that both of them loved each other very much…which made me wonder why they had a divorce in the first place.
My mother smiled sadly. “You should ask him how Fiona is doing.”
“Fiona?” I asked, dumbfounded.
“Yes. The other woman in his life. He even lied to me about her!” She had a murderous aura enveloping her, and the grass and petals around our area suddenly shriveled up.
“Um, relax mother.” I patted her hand. The name Fiona was somewhat familiar, but I couldn’t put a finger on it.
Suddenly, I heard a loud meow from within my mother’s palace. It was a large white tiger who became my mother’s soul beast.
“Qian, come here.” My mother wiggled her fingers towards the tiger. When the tiger placed her head on my mother’s lap, she stroked the head lovingly. “This is the last gift your father gave to me. To think he was hiding such a magnificent beast!”
“Mother…” A lightbulb lit up in my head. “The name of that tiger is actually Fiona…”
The Jade Emperor almost choked on his tea.