This is a particularly favourite chapter of mine. ;) I shall squeal with you at the end of the chapter. Above is a couple picture of Wang Huan and Xi Yang - I thought this looked so perfect!
Additionally, I've been getting feedback about how people can't wait for Yu An's story to start. Hahaha. Don't worry, I'm quite sure that you will get chapter one of Yu An's story soon. I foresee that Xi Yang's story will end around Chapter 18/19.
Chapter 15: Why?
An Hun and Yan Zun both looked over the fortress wall of An Hun's own palace. This was only a part of the lands that An Hun wanted to conquer. An Hun observed the quiet but undoubtably extraordinary Yan Zun beside him, he was always enigmatic and silent. Almost like a fresh sheet of paper that had never been written on - yet, so much blood had already been shed in his tribe, almost as if murder lived in his veins.
One thing has always puzzled An Hun about Yan Zun - which was his own lack of bloodlust and ambition. Why would he return from exile? An Hun naturally distrusted using anyone who did not have clear desires and wants - they would be too uncontrollable. But, An Hun could tell from how Yan Zun immediately went to see Wang Huan that the bonds Wang Huan and Yan Zun shared in their childhood over their sick mothers had carried over......
Xi Yang had seen Yan Zun as a bait to lure Princess Mei Yan in, because the Spider Demon Tribe had long roots with the Envy Tribe Princess Mei Yan belonged to. But, An Hun wondered if a man like Yan Zun would so easily fall in line with their wishes.
But, the deed had been done. They had travelled to the exiled purple deserts and invited the Spider Demon Tribe to return to the Dark Realms. Yan Zun had returned first with a few of his key followers... the Dark Lord had announced a temporary protection order on the Spider Demon Tribe to allow them time to settle back in the chaotic battleground of the Dark Realms.
Yan Zun turned aside and gave a light nod to An Hun, "Do not worry. I will keep my promise to Prince Sun. To want to punish Princess Mei Yan for poisoning Wang Huan - on that point, our interests are aligned."
With that, Yan Zun lightly swiped up one of his sleeves and walked away.
An Hun watched as Yan Zun's back receded away. Women, women are weaknesses. An Hun decided that he would never let a woman be his weakness.
There were only three princesses in the Dark Realms - the beautiful and sensuous siren, Princess Mei Yan of the Envy Tribe, the little heard of and little known hermit, Princess Wang Huan of the Greed Tribe, and finally, the eccentric and poisonous, Princess Lan Ye of the Apathy Tribe.
Of all the princesses, the most feared of was Princess Lan Ye. Her only interest was in experimenting with poison and in creating the most deadly venoms known in all the realms. She would poison people without fear or favour. A less apathetic dark immortal you could not find. The dark immortals always said that Princess Lan Ye would poison the Dark Lord without batting an eyelid - if not for the fact that the Dark Lord was so much more immensely powerful than her.
Everyone knew where Princess Lan Ye resided - it was even unguarded. But, no common immortal or god would dare tread into her palace, for fear of no return.
And this was the Princess, Xi Yang had sought to see. When he entered Princess Lan Ye's small palace, he was not surprised when he found it deserted with no servants. After visiting Wang Huan's remote courtyard, he had already gotten used to the idea that the princesses of the Dark Realms were unusual.
He lightly used his own powers to sense any dark energies and he followed this trace to the back of the palace. He found himself before a room that was set up like a kitchen, but none of the smells were appetising to say the least.
He cleared his throat and a petite long-haired figure in exquisite blue robes lifted up her head. She had a pixie-like face, a very small delicate face with clear oval-shaped eyes. He brought his hands together into a fist to make a polite gesture, "Crown Prince Sun from the Heavenly Realms pays his greetings to Princess Lan Ye."
Princess Lan Ye's gaze returned to the porcelain bowl with dark liquid down on the table. It was apparent that she planned to ignore him.
Xi Yang resisted the urge to frown. He had been warned by An Hun beforehand and was prepared for this. He took out a very tiny vial from his robes, "I have top grade venom from the chinese bird spider."
Princess Lan Ye immediately placed the bowl down and walked up towards Xi Yang. She eyed the crystal vial in his hand.
"What do you want?" She asked calmly.
"Information," Xi Yang said, "... and a promise."
Princess Lan Ye quickly turned to one corner of the table and brought two jade green bowls that were filled with translucent liquid.
"Both bowls contain water - but one of the bowls contain an odourless and colourless poison," Princess Lan Ye stated monotonously as if she was describing the natural ascent of the sun each day,"I will give you what you want if you drink one of these bowls."
Xi Yang looked into Princess Lan Ye's eyes and saw that there was not even the faintest ripples in them. He looked at the two bowls --- they were indistinguishable. He lifted up one bowl and sniffed it. Too bad, his medicinal pig wasn't here, a faint smile played on his lips. But, he had already decided that he was going to put in his all to protect her forever.
For a moment, a short moment, Princess Lan Ye's eyes rippled with surprise when she saw the smile that played on Prince Sun's lips. No one had ever smiled before taking on her poison challenge. In fact, no one has ever taken on her challenge...
Xi Yang finished the liquid in one gulp. He placed the bowl down cleanly with a grin, "Are you satisfied now?"
But, before Princess Lan Ye could respond, she heard a furious cry burst in, "Lan Ye! If you have hurt Prince Sun, I will never let you off!"
This time, even Xi Yang saw the split second startled look on Princess Lan Ye's face, before he turned shocked to see Wang Huan step in. Why was she here?
Wang Huan glared at Princess Lan Ye. She had once sworn that she would never see Princess Lan Ye again, but for Xi Yang, she had broken this promise. She sincerely hoped that she would not be struck by lightning!
"I never thought I would see you step into my palace again," Princess Lan Ye smiled at Wang Huan.
Wang Huan looked at the empty bowl in front of Xi Yang and she worriedly reached out for his hand to feel his pulse, "Do you feel fine?"
Xi Yang nodded then frowned at Wang Huan, "What are you doing here?"
Wang Huan looked pointedly back to Xi Yang, "Then what are you doing here?!"
"He is making a bargain with me," Princess Lan Ye answered and gestured for Xi Yang to place the vial in her hand, "So tell me, what do you want?"
Xi Yang sighed - he had not planned for Wang Huan to listen to this. He should not have stopped at her courtyard to pass the food before he came... but he was worried that the food might get tainted by Princess Lan Ye's palace.
"Is it true that you gave Princess Mei Yan the ambrosia poison?" Xi Yang asked.
Princess Lan Ye seemed to chuckle, "Oh that. Yes, we had an exchange once... she found me a rare holy scorpion poison, so I made a tiny vial of poison that seemed like ambrosia poison for her. But, it's not pure ambrosia poison. After the Dark Lord forbade the dark immortals from making ambrosia poison, the technique for making a pure ambrosia poison has been lost."
"What is the price for not making any more poisons for Princess Mei Yan and the Envy Tribe?" Xi Yang asked.
Princess Lan Ye stoically said, "There is no price. The demon wolf tribe linked to the Apathy Tribe was recently poisoned by some of my poisons and the clues lead to the Envy Tribe. I'm currently forbidden to make poisons for Princess Mei Yan and the Envy Tribe."
Xi Yang admired Princess Lan Ye's bluntness and placed the crystal vial down on the table.
"Are you done?" Princess Lan Ye asked.
Xi Yang nodded and was going to leave with Wang Huan when Princess Lan Ye turned to Wang Huan, "I want to speak to you."
Xi Yang gave a concerned glance at Wang Huan and Wang Huan gave a reassuring smile. Xi Yang nodded and said, "I will wait outside."
After Xi Yang exited the room, Princess Lan Ye quickly flicked her hands and created a sound barrier.
Although many people had long been afraid of Princess Lan Ye, Wang Huan never had been - she was not afraid of Lan Ye hurting her, what she had been afraid of was Lan Ye's capacity for hurting all others.
"You don't have to explain to me," Wang Huan said as she looked at both of the bowls, "After looking at the bowls, I can tell that none of them were poisoned."
Princess Lan Ye smiled, Wang Huan's skill for sensing poisons had not diminished.
Wang Huan looked at Princess Lan Ye and smiled, "I stand by my promise, as long as you make poisons that harm people, I cannot be your friend."
Many many years ago... Wang Huan had played with Lan Ye... little did she knew that the ingredients she experimented with Lan Ye would be used to create poisons that massacred hundreds. Little did she knew that Lan Ye did not care.
For a moment, Princess Lan Ye looked sad, but her usual disinterested expression quickly masked any emotions. She nodded, "I just wanted to tell you that he was a god willing to take an unknown poison for you, but looks like you have already known his worth."
Princess Lan Ye placed a cold icy blue bead in Wang Huan's hand, "My wedding gift to you."
"I don't want your poison," Wang Huan said and was about to push the bead back to Princess Lan Ye.
"It's not a poison," Princess Lan Ye said softly, "It's one of my new secret pills - if you take it, you will have all the signs of death for twenty four hours. But, you will still be conscious and alive. You only need to reverse the flow of your 'qi' from your heart to the stomach temporarily and the effects will immediately wear off. Take it, you will never know when you may need it."
Wang Huan paused for a moment then wrapped her hands around the bead. She looked at Lan Ye earnestly in her eyes, "If you ever stop making poisons..."
Princess Lan smiled, "You have your path and I have mine." With another swish of her hand, the sound barrier vanished.
"You had better quickly leave before your prince returns to kill me."
Just as Lan Ye had said, Wang Huan found Xi Yang anxiously pacing outside. He looked up concernedly when she arrived.
"I am fine," Wang Huan answered, "Lan Ye... is an enemy, but also an old friend."
Wang Huan looked at Xi Yang with a strong determined gaze in her eyes, "Why won't you share with me what you have been doing? Why am I always left in the dark?"
Xi Yang looked away, "How can I let you face any more danger? What kind of bodyguard would I be?"
Wang Huan felt her heart being gnawed painfully, "When Yan Zun returned to the Dark Realms, the first thing he did was to come see me. You disappeared without a trace for two weeks - if I didn't come and find you at Princess Lan Ye's palace, would you continue avoiding me?"
Xi Yang knew it was irrational but he felt a sour feeling in his mouth, "Yes, I'm very pleased for you that you and your childhood lover have happily reunited."
All the other things he wanted to say flew out of his mind - how much self-hatred he felt for the harm caused to Wang Huan in the Heavenly Realms, how vehemently he had searched to find out that the poisons were linked to the Envy Tribe, how much thought and effort he had put into convincing his father to allow the Spider Demon Tribe to return to the Dark Realms, how much planning he did with An Hun to bring Yan Zun back and to lure Princess Mei Yan in...... how much fear he had that Wang Huan would return to Yan Zun and break off their engagement now that he was pardoned... such that he might have unconsciously delayed seeing Wang Huan again, even though he had missed her...
All these things he could not say.
In his frustration, Xi Yang could not see the smile that started to grow on Wang Huan's lips. Wang Huan saw that Xi Yang was jealous and she finally also saw the state of his robes - although he was still distinguished and handsome, his usually immaculate robes were tinged with purple dust. She may be always called a pig, but pigs were actually intelligent creatures.
"So tell me - why did you work so hard to bring back my childhood lover despite his tribe breaking the holy laws between the Heavenly Realms and the Dark Realms? Why did you go down to the mortal realms to pick up my favourite red hot spicy pork dish? Why did you eat my oily vegetable dish during the cooking challenge when you hate vegetables and oil?" Wang Huan felt her cheeks warmed as Xi Yang's eyes rose towards her.
"And, why did you drink down in one gulp a bowl of unknown liquid even though it could be poisoned?"
"Let me tell you why," Xi Yang said and placed both of his hands gently on Wang Huan's cheeks. He bent down and kissed her firmly on her lips.
Then, he raised his head and laughed at Wang Huan's embarrassed expression, "Let's make our engagement real."
Wang Huan's eyes flashed with surprise as her heart pounded madly inside of her chest. She could barely mouth the word "why" when Xi Yang kissed her again.