I'm really excited to share Xi Yang's story, which I have titled, "The Sun's Dark Love". I have mapped out the plot and it will probably be the same length as Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission. However, this time I will let the story maybe breathe a little more, and allow it to grow and mature as I write it.
This story will share a similar vibe with Little Moon, with fantasy, romance, comedy and hopefully a lot of heart. You don't actually have to read Little Moon or Xi Yang's epilogue to be able to follow this story. So, hold on to your hearts and plunge in!
Chapter 1: A Promise is Given
The Heavenly Realms was the highest of all the realms, but when we say highest, we are not necessarily saying the highest status, but actually referring to the fact that it is physically highest.
Out of all the realms, the most powerful realms were the Heavenly Realms, the Dark Realms and the Realm of Life and Death. The first rulers of these three realms were borne out of the elements and called each other brothers. The first rulers have long returned to the elements, and the current rulers were their descendants.
The ruler of the Heavenly Realms was called the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the Dark Realms was called the Dark Lord, and the ruler of the Realm of Life and Death was called the Destiny Lord. The source of the three realms’ power was the Mortal Realm.
The gods in the Heavenly Realms were bestowed powers over the natural elements of the universe but a great source of their powers was also the belief and prayers of the mortals. If the gods in the Heavenly Realm were the “yang”, the light positive powers of the universe, then the dark immortals in the Dark Realms were the “yin”, their negative inverse. In the centre of it all, was the Destiny Lord, a neutral immortal who stone-facedly guarded and governed the wheel of destinies of all living things in the universe.
The Dark Realms preyed on the Seven Mortal Sins: lust, greed, sloth, apathy, envy, wrath and pride*. Unlike, the gods who chose the path of cultivation to remove themselves of human feelings and frailties, the dark immortals reveled in these human weaknesses and sought mastery over them. Thus, the Dark Realms consisted of seven tribes – every dark one was born with an affinity for one sin and the tradition of the Dark Lord was merely the strongest conqueror.
The current Dark Lord of the Dark Realms belonged to the lust tribe. He had royal consorts from all seven tribes and more children than one could count. But, he only had three daughters. In the first place, females were rare in the Dark Realms because females usually do not even survive the fetus stage and usually succumbed to the darkness of the energies. As per, the tradition of the Dark Realms, only the fittest survived – there was no right or wrong to it.
If anyone had dared to ask the Dark Lord if he loved his consorts too little since he had so many, he would actually say his sin was in loving too much. But, even the Dark Lord would confess to having a great love, and that was Princess Wang Huan’s mother. Princess Wang Huan’s mother was a simple kitchen maiden in the Dark Lord’s palace, of no great merit nor power. To describe her as a great beauty would also be an exaggeration, but there was a softness, sweetness and slenderness about her that tickled the Dark Lord’s heart.
Perhaps it was because she was not meant for greatness, Princess Wang Huan’s mother passed as swiftly as greatness fell upon her. Wang Huan, was a royal of the greed tribe, but the only potential she seemed to show was for gluttony. Like her mother, she showed no great powers. But unfortunately for Wang Huan, she looked like her father.
Thus, the Dark Lord did not favour Wang Huan, although in his own way, he protected her by never favouring her and that kept her away from the political battles between the tribes. Wang Huan, without any real dark powers of her own or family backing, was given a quiet courtyard in the countryside of the Greed Tribe.
Although the Jade Emperor had fretted over Crown Prince Sun’s royal marriage, it did not cross his mind to seek a marriage with the Dark Realm. However, when the Moon God had informed him that Xi Yang’s marriage fate was with Royal Princess Wang Huan of the Dark Realms – even though he believed in his older brother’s powers beyond belief, even he hesitated. It was the Dark Realms after all, the dark immortals who thrived in chaos and bloodshed – he did not know if he was inviting turmoil into the Heavenly Realms.
Still, the Moon God assured the Jade Emperor that this was heaven’s will, and the Jade Emperor finally accepted. He was somewhat comforted that out of the three royal princesses of the Dark Realms, it was Wang Huan who was fated --- Wang Huan would never know that it was her “ordinariness” that had been her winning point.
Of course, it was much later, till everyone realized that this future Queen was anything but ordinary.
An Hun (暗魂- dark soul) lightly arched his brow at the sight of young male warriors streaming out of Wang Huan’s courtyard entrance dejectedly one by one.
As he entered the courtyard, he saw Wang Huan pointing towards a large metal axe that had been fixed in the middle of the courtyard. One by one, these male warriors, struggled to pick up the metal axe and in the end, shook their heads and dejectedly left.
He looked at the metal axe, and knew that it would require an immortal or god of great divine strength to pick it up. Besides the Dark Lord or perhaps himself and a few of his royal brothers, no one else would be able to pick up this metal axe that had been fastened securely into the ground with great divine energy.
“An Hun Ge Ge (big brother),” Wang Huan cried cheerily and waved him towards her.
“What are you doing?” An Hun asked as the last three male warriors tried to pick up the metal axe and failed.
As the final male warrior left, Wang Huan closed her eyes for a moment in disappointment and turned to her female maid, Xiao Mi (小密 – Little Bee) to ask, “Is that all of the male warriors and mercenaries you could find?”
Xiao Mi nodded and sent out a few bees from her hand, “I will try and send out the message to more people.” Xiao Mi was a royal maid that came from the Bee Demon Tribe.
Wang Huan sighed and asked Xiao Mi to prepare some tea for An Hun and her. Wang Huan turned to An Hun, “I’m seeking a male warrior who can pick up the metal axe from the ground.”
An Hun laughed, “I can see that. But why do you need to do so?”
Wang Huan frowned for a moment, “An Hun Ge Ge, you should have heard of the news of my horrible marriage engagement with the Crown Prince of the Heavenly Realms. The engagement ceremony will be held in three months. First, you know how much I dislike Prince Sun…”
An Hun looked at Wang Huan and she immediately sighed. An Hun’s eyes were sharp and clear like blades, there was nothing she could ever hide from him, “Of course, I did not reject the marriage engagement when it was announced. What powers do I have to object?”
Wang Huan gave a soft bitter smile, “It’s good for you too, right? An Hun Ge Ge? Your little sister will no longer be so useless and can even become a political strength.”
The sides of An Hun’s mouth slightly lifted up and he patted Wang Huan’s head, “I’m not so weak as to require your help yet, little Wang Huan.”
Wang Huan’s life was more dark than light. Her few moments of happiness was when her mother was still alive. Although her mother had no real power, she gave Wang Huan all the love she needed. Her mother even took in an orphan boy – who was not really orphaned in the true sense, An Hun had lost his mother at birth but he was a royal prince of the Wrath tribe. However, there was little value in being a royal prince. To the Dark Lord, his sons were a dime of dozen, he had no care for the well-being of his sons, he had only one word for them – Survive and the strongest of you all would inherit my throne.
If Wang Huan’s mother had not taken An Hun under her wings, he would have died – just like all the other royal casualties that had fallen in the great battle for the throne. Wang Huan’s mother perhaps did not know then that she had also brought Wang Huan some security after she passed away --- for An Hun was gifted in his powers and as dark and manipulative as one should be to succeed in the political machinations for the throne. As much as Wang Huan had ensured An Hun did not die at birth, An Hun had ensured Wang Huan lived.
Once, both of them had thought – if only they shared the other’s fate. An Hun’s mother was said to be a mermaid who had left the ocean to follow the Dark Lord. The mermaid tribe is a reclusive species, and few had seen a real live mermaid – but those who had, would tell you that a female mermaid had a face that would rival the most beautiful goddess in the universe. She had perfect fair skin untouched by the sun, eyes that sparkled with all the colours of the undersea coral and hair so long and wavy that it would appear to unravel forever. But, a mermaid who leaves the ocean, would soon die.
An Hun’s mother did not leave him anything, but her beauty. A beauty that he hated for it did not match the ruthlessness of a Dark Lord. How many times had An Hun and Wang Huan thought – if only An Hun looked like the Dark Lord and Wang Huan looked like her mother, would their fates be less pitiful? Would they have been more loved?
Perhaps they had once thought so, but such thoughts were quickly abandoned as they grew older. Wang Huan did not want for much in her quiet courtyard, while An Hun plunged himself into the blood battles of the Wrath tribe.
Wang Huan and An Hun shared a long deep glance, filled with the pains of their own past, and the hard-earned survival of the present. Now, An Hun could be considered one of the forerunners of the Wrath tribe, with a strength and coldness that sometimes even Wang Huan feared, and Wang Huan, why Wang Huan, was going to marry to the Heavenly Realms!
“I asked Father as a favour to me before I married to the Heavenly Realms to allow me to travel to the mortal realms,” Wang Huan said as she sighed at the metal axe in the middle of the courtyard. “You know how I have always dreamed of eating all the famous delicacies in the mortal realms?”
Wang Huan pointed to the metal axe, “Father said that if I could find someone who could pick up that metal axe and was willing to travel with me, I would be able to go. He said it would be too dangerous otherwise.”
An Hun hid a smile, the Dark Lord’s task was almost insurmountable. No ordinary warrior or mercenary in the Dark Realms would be able to lift up the metal axe. In some ways, he could never tell if the Dark Lord cared or not – it was true that Wang Huan’s position was different now and she was practically defenseless, but the Dark Lord could also easily give Wang Huan one of his royal guards to accompany her to the mortal realms if he really intended to fulfill Wang Huan’s wish.
Wang Huan did not ask An Hun to try and lift up the metal axe, and An Hun did not offer. They both knew that even if An Hun could lift up the metal axe, he would not – his rivalry with the other prince of the Wrath Tribe, Lie Hun (裂魂 – cut/gash soul) was heating up.
After, An Hun sipped a cup of tea, he patted Wang Huan’s head, “One day, we will no longer be chess pieces, and I will bring you around the mortal realms.”
The sun had fallen, the skies were dark. There was nothing but the sad light of the moon falling upon the metal axe.
Wang Huan sighed, perhaps her dream was not meant to be.
Just then, she heard footsteps. Strong purposeful footsteps that sounded like the person always knew where he was heading.
She lifted up her head and was slightly surprised. She had thought that she was relatively immune to a man’s physical good looks since she had seen about the whole spectrum – her father, the Dark Lord, with his strong masculine good looks and An Hun, with his dazzling beauty. But, this man struck a tall aristocratic figure in simple yellow robes – strong brows, an aquiline nose, eyes that shone like the sun.
She broke into a fast smile and pointed to the metal axe she had been looking towards, “Here! Pick up this metal axe!”
The man furrowed his brows lightly at the request.
Her face fell slightly, her heart knew that this was an impossible request. “It’s fine, you probably cannot lift it up. It’s not like I was really expecting you to.”
The man seemed offended by her remark, so he took a few steps forward and simply, as if he was only lifting a pebble, lifted the metal axe up from the ground.
“This axe?” He gave a light smirk.
Wang Huan felt like fireworks went off in her head. The metal axe was lifted. The metal axe was lifted!
She excitedly grasped the man’s hand, “I will pay you any amount! You are hired!”
The man looked slightly taken aback and also slightly repulsed, “Hired?”
Wang Huan leaned her head to one side as she scrutinized the man’s face, “To accompany me to the mortal realms for three months? Haven't you come for this job?”
The man placed the metal axe down, “I have come to see Princess Wang Huan.”
“Yes?” Wang Huan looked inquiringly at the man.
Xi Yang thought that as a prince he had seen and experienced most of the things in the world already. But, ever since he found Princess Wang Huan’s courtyard – he felt like he had fallen into an alternative universe with an endless stream of surprises. He decided to find Princess Wang Huan to request for her to reject the marriage engagement, but who knew when he found her courtyard that she lived in such a simple, almost deserted place?
And who knew, this young girl in front of him dressed in informal traveling attire, would actually turn out to be Princess Wang Huan? He could not detect a single trace of “royal” in her.
“Why do you want to go to the mortal realms?” Xi Yang asked.
“To eat all the famous food in the mortal realms,” Wang Huan beamed back at Xi Yang.
Xi Yang had only one conclusion - his fiancée was an idiot.
“What has it got to do with the metal axe?” Xi Yang asked, he could not help feeling confused by this strange princess.
“My father said I could only go to the mortal realms if I travelled with someone who was able to pick up the metal axe,” Wang Huan replied, and then happily shook his hand with strength, “And that someone is you!”
“I will pay you any amount you ask for,” Wang Huan added.
Xi Yang paused for a moment. Wang Huan leaned closer towards Xi Yang and gave him a sincere pleading look. Xi Yang gazed down at this young girl who was honestly more handsome than pretty, she had a strong facial structure with dark brows and eyes that twinkled like the luminous stones in a dark cave.
“I want a promise,” Xi Yang finally said, “If I accompany you to the mortal realms for three months, you must fulfill a promise to me afterwards.”
Wang Huan hesitated, then Xi Yang added, “I would not ask you to kill or harm anyone.”
Wang Huan smiled and nodded eagerly, “It’s a promise.”
Wang Huan lifted up her head curiously, “But, what is your name?”
Xi Yang looked at the moon for a moment and said, “Ri Shi (日食 - eclipse of the sun), you can call me Ri （日- day/sun).”
“It’s a promise, Ri.”
*I have changed one of the sins from Gluttony to Apathy for the purposes of this story.
Comments: I have a tendency to start my stories in third person. I haven't really decided if I would use third person or first person narrative for this story. Any suggestions? :)
If you would like to read the accompanying story:
Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission!Chapters: Prologue + 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission!