Author’s note: hello everyone, before I’m going to leave for the airport, I’m going to leave this chapter right here. :3 I’ll be in Europe for 18 days, so I can’t promise you daily updates anymore. I’ll have to see if I even get the time to write during my holiday too, so I apologize in advance. I’ll post updates when I can ^.^ thank you for reading!
As I was walking around the Netherworld, I saw a familiar figure in the distance. Uh-oh.
“Juju!” My father’s voice boomed in the open air.
I reluctantly ambled over, giving him a peck on the cheek. “Hello, father!” I smiled brightly at him and decided to spit out compliments, “Haven’t seen you in a long time! You look rather handsome today! Is that a new haircut?” I could not help but add, even though he had always been bald.
“Juju! I did not approve of you going down the mortal realm just to chase after a man!” He trembled with undisguised rage, and his face turned pink. With shifty eyes, I scanned the vicinity for a comrade to help me get out of this predicament.
“Mother!” I suddenly felt relieved when I saw her walking towards us, and I pleaded with her with my eyes. Mother, please stop father! You’re the only one who can defeat this monster!
“Darling,” mother sidled up to father’s side, entwining her arm around his. “Juju is old enough to do whatever she wants to do. If she wants to chase a man, then let her!”
Mother! Why did it sound so vulgar coming from your mouth??
“But dear!” Father’s face softened at once, his eyebrows drawn down in repressed anger. “It’s the God of War! Who knows what he’ll do to her!”
“Oh shush!” Mother playfully slapped him on the arm. “You know what you do with me. It’s the same thing!”
Father blushed beet red, all thoughts of admonishing me flying straight out the window. I did not want to hear how my parents did THINGS in detail, so when they started looking at each other with hearts in their eyes, I saw it as an opening. I scurried away and backtracked to where Old Meng was. Although I was glad my parents were back together again, their public display of affection was still nauseating.
“Hey Old Meng!” I greeted the old man who made soup for a living. I looked at the stretch of souls lining up for the drink. “Looks like business is booming, ah!”
I hovered over his shoulder as he ladled soup.
“Your Highness, if I may be so blunt. Having your presence so near makes me quite anxious.” I saw his frail hands tremble as he held out a bowl to a departed soul.
“It’s not like I’m going to bite you!” I exclaimed. “In any case, I’m feeling bored. Shall I help you?” The line for the soup was very, very long. It seemed a lot of people had died in the mortal realm. Was there some sort of epidemic?
“It really is not necessary, Your Highness. This old man has always been alone for thousands of years without help.” I could hear a bit of grief mixed in his voice, and I resolutely took up a stance beside him.
I started ladling out soup, and this job of being the soup aide, became my job for many days while I waited for Jin to come back from his first life. I didn’t want to go ahead to the next life if he wasn’t there. It would be meaningless.
I held a bowl of soup towards a soul when I realized I knew that certain person back in the mortal realm!
He stared back at me with anger in his eyes. “You!” Was all he could splutter. I realized that ever since coming back from my first life, I had not worn a veil over my face. I thought it was too troublesome now after not wearing one for how many years in the mortal realm.
“Welcome to the netherworld, Your Majesty!” I greeted him with sarcasm. Although he used to be the Emperor in the mortal realm, he was nothing but another soul here. “By the way, how could you recognize me? I don’t think we’ve ever met face to face? Have I offended you in some way? Did you die of old age?”
“How could I not know you? HOW COULD I NOT? You ruined me! You!” He shouted in anger, and the imps and spiritual beings in the netherworld turned to him to glare, sharpening their weapons. How could he raise his voice at me like that? I knew he did not know who I was, but this was the first time this happened to me, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel insulted.
“I just wanted to give my son the world, and the world turned its back on me just because of a mere commoner! It was you!” He was raging so much, he leaned across the table to grip my shoulders. He spat at my feet. The imps and spiritual beings looked like they were going to attack him any minute, but I held out a hand to stop them. The old Emperor continued, “I cannot believe you were actually the leader of the commoner sect! Ha! Meeting you here is fate, I will kill you now as they have killed me! And when I return, I will definitely kill that bastard Jin!”
I was indeed very, very angry. This was perhaps the first time I was this close to the boiling point. This mere soul from the mortal realm dare try to kill me? To pin the blame on me for his death? After I heard he was going to kill Jin as well, I scoffed in his face. There definitely was something wrong with his head if he thought he could kill the God of War with his measly cultivation. I grabbed his hands that were on my shoulders and flew over his head, flipping his body in the air. With a resounding bang, I pinned him to the ground with a foot on his head.
The imps and spiritual beings cheered when they saw the spectacle, but I could tell they were disappointed they had not been the ones to instigate a torture. Insulting me was a grave offense that no one would dare try to do.
“You should know your place.” I applied more pressure to my foot, until his face was kissing the dirty floor. “This Jin you are referring to, is actually the God of War. If you want to kill him, you have to go through me first.” I glared at him. “However, seeing as you are but an ant beneath my feet, how could you proclaim yourself to be able to kill both of us?”
I motioned for the spiritual guards of the netherworld to come closer. “Bring this person to the animal reincarnation pool. Let him drink five bowls of soup to addle his brain. Also, make sure this process will continue until he regrets what he has done.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
As the spiritual guards took him away, the Emperor turned towards me in loathe. I waved at him goodbye. “Hey, this punishment is already a very lenient one! You should thank me, actually. The other punishments include really, really bad fates…and you wouldn’t like the sound of that.” If the Jade Emperor or even Siming knew of what had recently transpired, I doubt they would let him off lightly. Even my father would prefer him to stay in the soul prison forever, where souls would rather die than be kept in such a place. I was allowing the old Emperor a freedom which he wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise after insulting the niece of the Jade Emperor and the daughter of the Netherworld.
I went back behind the soup table and continued handing out bowls as if nothing had happened. The departed souls were looking at me warily, and they were rather muted now. I simply smiled at them warmly, as I had many questions to ask.
“Are you from the country of Ku?” I asked one soul who looked like an imperial guard.
“Yes…Your Highness,” he replied, promptly recognizing my status after the recent event. He cupped his fist and bowed gracefully. “I apologize on behalf of His Majesty. He is simply overwhelmed by what had happened. He did not think the first lieutenant and the second prince would cooperate and form a coup d’etat to overthrow him…” He looked at the other soul beside him awkwardly.
The other soul shrugged and said, “It doesn’t matter anymore. We died just as the Moonlight Sect appeared in the palace. They were an incredible force. I don’t have much regrets, but what I do regret is not seeing the first lieutenant kill His Majesty with burning hatred.” He suddenly laughed.
The Imperial guard chided him, but the soul merely said, “So what! We don’t serve His Majesty anymore. We’re dead! I can say whatever I want without being afraid of the executioner!”
The departed souls started chattering wildly, and I heard bits and pieces of what had transpired in the mortal realm. So my Moonlight Sect had done something outrageous such as overthrowing the monarch, after all. I was not surprised. What surprised me more was the fact that Jin himself had killed the Emperor. Was he so affected by my death that he had to do such a thing? I was touched as well as emotionally conflicted. I actually felt a tad bit of pity towards the Emperor, as his doting caused his massive downfall. So how did Jin’s actions affect his trials now?
The departed souls could not say anything more, as many of them had died in the onslaught, but the new souls who arrived a few days later spoke of how Taren became the new Emperor, though it seemed as though it was Jin who held the strings to his reign. The Moonlight Sect I had erected became the most revered sect in the country, and with Jin as its new Sect Master, it was an unstoppable sect that brought a new era of prosperity to the country.
As I kept handing out bowls of soup, I wondered when Jin would arrive in the netherworld. He was accomplishing great things in the mortal realm, and I wondered if he had enough. Did he miss me as much as I missed him? He would probably be enraged once he got his memories back, but he did not know that I was actually a deity in Heaven. Would he scour the netherworld for my mortal soul?
As I thought of this, I reluctantly placed the veil back on my face for good measure. I did not want him to recognize me at all, even if it pained me to think that he would look elsewhere for me. I didn’t think I was capable of actually greeting him face to face as he turned back to the God of War. At least with a veil, I was able to hide. I wanted to continue hiding until the time he would tell me that he loves me. It was a defensive mechanism of my heart.
As the weeks passed, a certain day came when the imps and spiritual beings were in a frenzy. I wondered what made them so jumpy, so I followed their line of sight. In the distance, Jin came through the gate of the netherworld with heavy steps. He looked livid, and I was glad I was wearing a veil to hide my face. He didn’t know me.
Why was he striding off towards my direction? Why was he glaring at me? Did he know who I was? Wait, my hair was already back to silver and I wore my veil! There was no way he knew who I was!
I patiently continued handing out bowls. Soon, Jin was only meters away from where I stood, and I started panicking. He definitely knew who I was!
I quickly leapt from my previous position and dashed towards Heaven. Why the hell was I running! My brain could not keep up with my legs, and I was running in circles in Heaven until I went back to the netherworld. I turned my face to look back, and was shocked to see Jin was following me! I quickened my pace and turned to the dimensional cavern in the netherworld where the reincarnation pool to Earth was located. This was my chance to escape! My panicked state befuddled my brain.
“Stop right there, Juju!” His voice was laced with restlessness. I didn’t turn around and instead, I jumped into the pool with my head full of thoughts of how he was going to murder me in the next life.