Bonus Story 3: The Death of Siming Xingjun
Siming was dead.
Well, not really dead. She just accidentally fell from the Suxian Terrace and went into a deep sleep.
Under the Suxian Terrace was the Jade Pond. Filled inside the Jade Pond was an extremely fragrant yet at the same time extremely intoxicating ten-thousand-year-old wine. Even a god would go to sleep for thousands of years if he happened to have too much to drink.
Not only did Siming Xingjun fall all the way inside, the entire celestial realm knew she was also a landlubber. Once she fell, unless she drank until her eyes popped white, she would never be able to float on her own. For this reason, by the time the gatekeeper found Siming ‘drowning in wine’ and labored to pull her ashore, Siming was already passed out from the wine foam.
After the old doctor checked Siming’s pulse, he surmised her waking up would be a matter of six or seven thousand years later.
Six or seven thousand years for the undying immortals wasn’t a long time. However, Siming managed fates in the three realms as the God of Fate. She was also responsible for writing tribulations for those going through trials. Hers was the most critical out of all the critical positions. The three realms couldn’t have one day without Siming Xingjun, let alone six or seven thousand years.
The gods couldn’t but panic and blame Siming for being careless. Amid the frenzy dismay, a maidservant quietly pointed out that she had seen Siming with Lord Moxi’s new wife, Sansheng, before she fell into the pond. The two of them even appeared to have had a dispute.
Once she said this, everyone went hushed for a moment. You looked at me, I looked at you, but no one dared to stand up and say it aloud.
The God of War was generally a very fair and just god. He was, however, terribly protective of his wife, Sansheng, and no one could dream to say a bad thing about her.
The stiff atmosphere was finally broken at long last by the Crane Fairy who was sent by the Celestial Emperor.
“What are we going to do about this? Will you just let Siming Xingjun lie on the ground? Why haven’t you helped bring her back?! Are the lot of you all blind?” The Crane Fairy yelled at the maidservants standing by the Jade Pond for a length before demanding: “Why is Siming this drunk? When was the last time anyone slipped and fell into the Jade Pond?”
The crowd dithered for a long while. Only the maidservant repeated what she said.
The Crane Fairy gave her words a listen and briefly fell silent. “If that is the case, why not go and confront Sansheng?”
No one moved.
The Crane Fairy growled icily: “Don’t tell me you are all afraid of her?” Then he flapped his sleeves peevishly and left.
The God of War’s palace was surrounded by plum trees in a ten-mile radius. Magic had been used to create a frosty winter where red plum stood proudly in the snow. Ten miles of plum blossoms scented the air with ten miles of fragrance, rendering the God of War’s palace somewhat less solemn and adding some traces of elegance to it.
The Crane Fairy walked through the sea of plum blossoms to enter the God of War’s home. When a maid informed him that the God of War and his wife were enjoying the plum blossoms in the back, he glowered and had the maid lead the way.
Yet to step foot into the back garden, he suddenly heard a woman’s voice speaking: “Moxi, don’t move. I’m almost finished with the drawing. Just let me place a bit of color onto your lips.”
A sigh preceded a man’s deep voice: “Sansheng, what you’re drawing is my back.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“So how can you see any lips?”
“I can’t,” the woman said as-a-matter-of-factly. “But that doesn’t matter. I want to see your face.”
The Crane Fairy briefly pondered to himself, unable to imagine how horrifying the painting would be if one could see his face even though she was drawing his back. He waited for the maid to send word and then stepped into the main hall.
The scene he saw gave the Crane Fairy a scare. The usually icy and solemn Lord Moxi was holding onto a plum tree at this time. He stood under the red flowers, lifting one as if to savor its soft fragrance. His serene and gentle expression was something the Crane Fairy had never seen before. Not far away, his wife Sansheng, whose appalling face was inked all over, was busy painting on the paper parchment.
Seeing him coming in, she carelessly gave her face two wipes and, in the process, smeared it even more tragically. She placed her brush down and said, “Moxi, welcome your guest.”
The veins on the Crane Fairy’s forehead twitched.
The solemn master of the house actually listened to this woman and unhurriedly came over, saying without a change in his expression: “To what do we owe the honor of your visit today, Crane Fairy?”
The Crane Fairy bowed to Moxi and replied: “My Lord, you may not have heard. Siming Xingjun carelessly slipped and fell into the Jade Pond today. She drank too much wine and is out cold at this time. The doctor said she will stay asleep for at least six or seven millennia.”
Moxi nodded his head: “That’s really too careless of Siming.”
“However, there was a maidservant who saw Lady Sansheng with Siming Xingjun, and that they also seemed to have been in a quarrel.”
Moxi walked over to Sansheng to help her rub the ink from her face with his sleeves while lightly replying: “She must’ve been mistaken. Sansheng has been with me the entire day.” Sansheng grabbed Moxi’s sleeves and buried her face onto his shoulder, rubbing messily. Moxi obviously wouldn’t stop her intimate action; he happily let her dirty his clothes with her careless rubbing.
The Crane Fairy watched the lovey dovey pair for a moment, his mouth twitching into a reluctant smile. “If Your Lordship says so, then the young fairy must’ve seen wrong. My apologies, Lady Sansheng. Goodbye.”
“Please wait,” Moxi suddenly called after the Crane Fairy. “If Siming has to stay asleep for several thousand years, who will take over her position?”
“His Majesty will have his arrangements.”
“Ah yes. Will you relay to His Majesty for me, envoy, that my wife Sansheng is quite fond of reading? She has many great ideas that I’m sure her fate writing won’t be any inferior compared to Siming’s.”
Surprise flashed in the Crane Fairy’s eyes. He gave Sansheng a quick glance and then said, “I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll be sure to pass your words to His Majesty.”
After the Crane Fairy went far away, Sansheng raised her head from Moxi’s chest with amusement dancing in her eyes: “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe you’d lie so blatantly just to get out of trouble.”
Moxi ruffled the hair on Sansheng’s forehead and said with a faint smile: “How can you still make fun of me? If you weren’t arguing with her so heatedly, would I have let her trip and fall like that?”
Sansheng sighed: “I feel kind of bad. It was just a small quarrel but I’ve made her sleep for thousands of years.”
Moxi chuckled. “Sansheng, do you really think there’s a god who’s that stupid? With Siming’s ability, how could she have fallen down the Jade Pond from my ploy?”
“She wanted to fall? But why?”
Moxi looked in the direction of the Celestial Emperor’s residence: “I heard that Siming confessed to the Celestial Emperor a few days ago.”
“Siming likes the Celestial Emperor?!” Sansheng asked in shock.
Moxi’s lips smirked into a smile. “You’ll know all these stories in Heaven once you’re here long enough. The Celestial Emperor seemed to have rejected Siming’s confession – it was quite a blow… She’s fairly close to me, so I have some idea about how she feels.”
“How does she feel?”
“Siming’s a girl who loves her freedom. She’s long been sick and tired of her job. She only remains in Heaven because of her feelings for the Celestial Emperor. Now that her hope has shattered, I’m sure she’d want to find a way to leave this post. After thousands of drunken years, the human world would change, and this post would also be replaced by someone else by then. She’ll naturally be freed.”
Sansheng nodded despite being somewhat puzzled. She mulled for a while and then looked up to Moxi: “If Siming dislikes that position so much, then doesn’t that mean there’s nothing good about it? Why do you still want to push me down this minefield?”
Moxi did not speak for a time. “Why were you fighting with Siming?”
At the mention of which, Sansheng became incensed. She left her original question behind. “Moxi, do you still remember Chang’an?” At Moxi’s nod, Sansheng excitedly said, “Today, I saw Siming writing trials for fairies who are ascending to the heavenly realm. I walked over to take a look and happened to see Changan’s name. He has been successful in his cultivation and will soon ascend to immortality.”
“Oh,” Moxi indifferently replied while turning around to look at the painting Sansheng had painted, none too happy to hear her speak to him about another man in so passionate a fashion.
Sansheng paid little attention to Moxi’s dissatisfaction, continuing instead: “This is a good thing, I was also very happy about it. But then Siming told me she had written a love trial for Chang’an wherein Chang’an was to fall in love with an old and dying Bai Jiu and experience a painful unrequited love!”
Moxi nodded, unsurprised. This was exactly something Siming would do.
Sansheng furiously slammed her palm onto the table. “Bai Jiu is our enemy! How could she let Chang’an fall in love with that piece of shit?”
Our, she said this word so naturally that Moxi’s mood lifted. His gaze fell on Sansheng as he warmly asked, “So what do you want?”
“We mustn’t let Bai Jiu have such a yummy treat! Chang’an is such a delectable boy. If someone were to eat him, I’d have to have the first taste…”
A dangerous ray sparked in Moxi’s eyes. Sansheng diverted her eyes and corrected herself: “If someone were to eat him, he’d have to ask me first! And then I remembered that Chang’an has a senior, so I proposed to Siming to let Chang’an and that Changwu kid have a love line. Wouldn’t that have been great? But Siming said that wouldn’t be considered a trial, which was why I ended up arguing with her.” Sansheng sighingly shook her head: “I can’t believe Siming’s mind could turn so fast. She could even come up with that strategy at the same time she was quarreling with me.”
After he pondered for a moment about everything that had happened, Moxi suddenly pointed out the forgotten crux: “What was ultimately decided for Chang’an’s trial?”
Sansheng went quiet for a moment. “The sheet of paper might have been dragged into the Jade Pond with Siming…”
Sighing, Moxi massaged his brow and said, “Ascending to immortality is only supposed to be a minor trial, but you two had now left it to Heaven’s will. If one is able to cross a heavenly trial, he will become immortalized, but should he fail, he will fall into darkness. Sansheng, this joke’s gone a bit too far.”
Dismayed, Sansheng blinked back her tears and asked pitifully: “Moxi, will I be punished?”
Whatever frustration he may have had vanished at that moment under her gaze. Moxi softly chuckled and patted Sansheng’s head: “No, you have me.”
Sansheng had waited for Moxi to say this, but when Moxi really did, she was caught in a stupor. She wiped her tears and poked Moxi’s chest accusingly: “Moxi, if you indulge me like this, I’m going to be spoiled.”
Moxi’s fingertips gently brushed her cheek: “It’s fine for my Sansheng to be spoiled.”
All Sansheng could do was to gaze at Moxi in a trance.
When the muted fragrance of the plum blossoms drifted across her nose, Sansheng suddenly ruined the mood: “Why do you want me to be the God of Fate?”
Moxi blinked, then broke into a smile. “Still won’t let this go, I see. But it is precisely this rock-headed temperament that I love so much.” After muttering to himself, Moxi softly asked his wife: “Sansheng, do you think I’ll be able to see you as my everything from now on?”
Sansheng shook her head.
She had always known Moxi to have his own aspirations and ideals. Nothing could be his everything. But this was the Moxi that she loved. From the very beginning, what she loved was the proud confidence with which he had marched to the Yellow Springs.
“In Jiuchongtian, I have numerous responsibilities as the God of War,” he began. “But Sansheng, you’ve given up the underworld for me. You’ve thrown away everything you knew to come to Heaven. You have nothing now except for me.”
Sansheng mulled over his words and was reminded how much she had had to sacrifice to marry Moxi. Suddenly perceiving her own magnanimity, she patted Moxi’s shoulder, saying: “You have to treat me well, then!”
Both exasperated and amused, Moxi held Sansheng’s hand and continued what he was saying: “But that’s not what I want. With your personality, your life shouldn’t revolve around me. I found Siming’s post for you to firstly allow you to quickly integrate into the circle of the gods and at the same time to gain a foothold in Heaven. Secondly… if and when I’m not around anymore, I want you to live well in this place.”
Sansheng gave Moxi’s words some careful consideration and then said, “You’re right, I really should find something to do. But if one day you were gone, I would definitely accompany you home.”
Moxi ruffled Sansheng’s hair and gently smiled. “Your hair has grown a bit longer again.”
“Really? The water in Heaven must be great for nourishing hair! Before long, I’ll be able to grow tresses even longer than Siming’s.”
“I’m sure you will.”
“Moxi, let’s go visit Siming.”
“Let me see the portrait you painted for me first.”
“Umm… Let’s go visit Siming first.”
“Let’s look at the painting!”
“Moxi, I’m trying to wheedle you!”
“C’mon! Let’s go see Siming.”
Red plum branches swayed in the breeze, infusing the air with a subtle fragrance and lining the smiling faces of the couple in the garden like a beautiful tranquil painting.
-END- (for real this time)