In terms of consequences, this is one of the best chapters in Heavy Sweetness. When push come to shove, what would you choose, love or family? Is there ever a real choice?
Chapter 17: A Line Separates Good From Evil (Part 3 of 4)
In the middle of the Heavenly Empress' palm, the red lotus fire blazed angrily. She lifted up her right hand and was about to hit the top of my head.
In the very last moment, I heard a sharp cry, "Jin Mi!"
I lifted up my head but only saw someone dashing through the wall of fire as if it was nothing. I was losing my five senses and could only blearily see a distinguished looking figure, he was crying for me with such loss and alarm it was as if he had lost his own soul.
The Heavenly Empress quickly retreated, "Phoe..." before she could finish, a ray of light flashed across and hit her straight in the back. There was an anguished sound of pain, as if she was hit by a huge force, she held her chest and spat out a mouthful of fresh blood.
As she instinctively kept her palm to protect her own pulse, the red lotus fire that was pressing down on my head disappeared - I could finally take in a breath of air again, I narrowed my eyes and saw a pair of long and thin coquettish eyes looking back at me, I gradually recognised the person and my heartbeat that was calming down started to rise again, this person had told me this morning, "Jin Mi, I think, there will finally be a day when I will kill you."
Looks like I was fated to die at the hands of this pair of mother and son... I tolerated the pain in my chest and sealed my meridians, stopping myself from breathing, I forcefully bit down on my tongue, in a moment, warm and hot blood gushed out of my mouth. I furrowed my brows, my arm that was holding onto the floor lost its last strength, my body finally completely collapsed to fulfill both of their wishes.
For a very long while, the silence was eerie.
"Jin Mi?" Phoenix lightly asked - as if his breath was caught in his throat, it was so light and wispy, like his pulse was blocked, his heart had stopped, hanging on a thread. After a moment of silence, I heard him say in a manner that could not be more calm and simple, "You killed her."
He spoke in a manner that carried no fierceness or strength, but it contained a coldness that would seep into the marrows of your bone and chilled your very insides. Even me, who was pretending to be dead, started to have a bit of goosebumps.
The Heavenly Empress coughed, it was not clear if it was due to her injury or a little sense of guilt, but the sound was not stable. In a moment, she regained her consciousness and scolded, "For this demoness, you hit your own mother?!"
I felt a cold wind brush across me, I did not know if it was because the fire had subsided, but my consciousness slowly became clearer, I suddenly realised that indeed what had struck the Heavenly Empress' back was Phoenix's feather, so it was Phoenix that had saved me... and even hurt the Heavenly Empress... I could not understand this...
"Yes, I had hit you because of her, but, I had only hit to stop you," The voice continued to be smooth like the flowing water, but it seemed to be hollow and empty, "But mother, why did you so cruelly sent Jin Mi to her death?"
"Move away," Phoenix's tone was so cold it was frightening.
"You!..." The Heavenly Empress sucked in a breath of air, she was angry to her very limits, "What kind of attitude is this?! You talked to your mother in this way?! What's more this woman is sly, who knows if she is faking her death?"
I was alarmed, I thought I could fake my death to escape this calamity, if this cruel and vicious Heavenly Empress send another palm my way thinking I had faked my death, then I will truly be dead. The Heavenly Empress scoffed, "Since she is dead, what use is her corpse?" I felt a fiery wave of flames press upon me agian.
Phoenix did not answer. I only felt the air in the surroundings start to change, at first only small bits of sand started to fly, then stones, and suddenly it was a wild turbulent wind, I did not open my eyes, but I could sense Phoenix standing in the eye of the wind with his robes flapping upwards, his face cold, his eyes downcast, his hands enclosed together, his lips were tightly pressed as he mumbled an incantation - there was suddenly a blinding flash of golden light, as if it was the first ray that escaped the dark night and immediately attacked towards the Heavenly Empress.
The Heavenly Empress did not expect Phoenix will really attack her, she quickly kept the flames and created a boundary to protect herself, and at the same moment, it was not clear if it was her instinct or having been agitated by her own son, she actually gave out her own attack to receive Phoenix's.
Although I sensed the strength of her attack was not enough to hurt Phoenix, my heart sunk, my left shoulder had a strange cutting pain, and my mind became blank.
"Tu Yao*!"... Phoenix and the Heavenly Empress were battling and in the midst of their battle, a strong deep voice full of divine energy broke through. It spoke in disbelief and deep disappointment. It was none other than the Heavenly Emperor.
The Heavenly Empress got distracted and I heard a "peng!" sound, it was not clear whose heavy power she was hit by, but her body flew back in the air. I felt a layer of steam.
At this moment, my fake dead body was carried in a warm embrace, a cold hand lightly and very carefully stroke my face, as if raving deliriously in a dream, "Jin Mi.... Jin Mi..."
Ah, it was Water God Daddy. It seemed that Phoenix was also nearing, but his breath was messy and chaotic, he did not speak.
There seemed to also be another person in the surroundings, but his pulse seemed calm and cool, I was guessing who he was when he spoke, "Great god do not be hasty, the body is not harmed, the soul may not have dissipated, what's more... I know that Jin Mi..." he hesitated as if he was deciding what to say but silence finally replaced his remaining words. It turned out to be Night, but how come suddenly everyone was here?
One drop, two drops, three drops, three cold pearls of water slid down my cheeks, and one landed on my lips, seeping through the gap between the lips, it had a light saltiness... I did not know who had shed a tear for me, although there was only three drops in total, a sense of joy rose in my heart, even I could not understand why.
Just as I was deciding if I should continue faking my death, the silence was broken by the Heavenly Emperor's deep voice, "All these years, I continuously told myself that your temper was only a little hasty, your words a little fierce, you were not inherently bad... but today, if it was not for Night who had received news that there was chaos below and hastily called me to return, if I did not see it for myself... I could not ever imagine that you were so cruel! Tu Yao, you are already at the top of the heavenly realms, what else do you lack, why must you do this...?!"
The Heavenly Empress that was hit by Daddy, her injuries were not light. I could smell that she had coughed out a mouth of flesh blood. She laughed, "Your Highness asked me why... I also would like to know why... the Heavenly Empress, so what? Have I ever held any weight in your heart? Although I am a goddess, I am no different from a mortal girl, all I want is a faithful heart... but your Highness... besides that person, have you ever looked at anyone else?" The Heavenly Empress gave a self-derisory laugh, "That lowly pitiful red carp sprite, just because she resembled that person's silhouette, your Highness was willing to favour her for a year!... did you ever think of me? Did you ever think of what I feel as your wife... have you ever experienced the sorrow of using your own gaze to chase after a pair of eyes that will never look at you?"
"Mother..." it was Phoenix's voice, full of sadness.
The Heavenly Empress suddenly got agitated by Phoenix's cry, "Jin Mi, this little demoness! She is the exact duplicate of that person! I must remove her! I must not let her seduce and throw into chaos everyone's hearts again like Zi Fen!"
Daddy was using his internal energy to protect the heart pulse in my body, he suddenly placed my body into Night's arms, and commanded, "Help Jin Mi protect her soul."
"Yes," Night received me and used his internal energy to protect my pulse, his energy was warm and soothing, in a moment, my chest was no longer that painful.
"You killed my love, you killed my daughter! This deadly feud of us --- I cannot live under the same sky as my enemy," Daddy's voice was thick with frost and full of murderous intent. In a flash, the air around us was chilly and large amount of snow started to fly down from the sky. I was dazed because I had never seen the compassionate Daddy who loved and pitied all living things in the realms ever appear so angry.
Daddy threw out three palms, besides the painful cry of the Heavenly Empress, I also quickly heard Phoenix's gasp.
I felt an agitation in my chest and my eyes flew open, I saw that Phoenix's chest had two crystal sharp snow flowers embedded, and the flowers were getting dyed red from his blood.... his white lips determinedly said, "Great god... Phoenix is willing to take his mother's place... please just spare her life."
"Jin Mi..." I heard Night said something in my ear but I could not hear it clearly.
"Phoenix!" The Heavenly Emperor used his divine force to take out the two bloodied snow flowers, he held Phoenix who had fainted after using the last of his energies, he angrily glared at the Heavenly Empress, "Zi Fen was harmed by you?" His deep low voice had a discernible tremor, "Guards! Bring the Heavenly Empress to the prison! Remove her title, forever she will no longer belong to the gods!"
*Tu Yao is the Heavenly Empress' name.
Comments: I can't imagine how painful it must be for Phoenix - to have to see his own mother kill Jin Mi. If the Heavenly Emperor had not stopped Phoenix and the Heavenly Empress' fight, would Phoenix really hurt his mother? I doubt it --- because to hurt your parents is one of the greatest sins in chinese culture. What could he do? Probably take away Jin Mi, and take his own life as well.
What is interesting is Night's reaction - since he was calm and not in panic like the Water God or Phoenix, he must have known that Jin Mi was faking her death. He knew that it was Jin Mi's final trick. It's more scary to think of the alternative situation --- that Night wasn't sure or actually thought Jin Mi might be dead, but he couldn't care less.
The Heavenly Empress had a beautiful line - have you ever experienced the sorrow of using your own gaze to follow a pair of eyes that would never look back at you? It certainly does not excuse her actions, but it reminds us again of how much one's sins can haunt your whole life, ruining any chance of happiness for yourself, and potentially ruining the happiness of those you love as well.