Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 1)

    Dearest readers, I'm still editing the final chapter of The Sun's Dark Love. But, to satisfy some of your curiosities, I thought I would share the first chapter of Princess Yu An's story - "The Princess Who Cannot Marry". While planning the entire story arc of Princess Yu An, I actually got very immersed in her world and started to pen down the first few chapters. I think Yu An's story differs from Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission and The Sun's Dark Love because the previous two stories have very clear one true pairings and have two equal main characters, but Yu An's story is entirely hers. I always try to avoid writing about characters who are too perfect (though clearly since the romantic genre is all about escapism, we get dream-like fantasies), but I don't want to write about people who can do everything and always get things right. But, Yu An is a girl who is beautiful, intelligent, talented in music and also a princess. Gosh, I almost want to give her a defect, any defect, to make her seem real. But, strangely, she is so real to me because she is the lovechild of my first characters, Yue and Hsiao, and I hope you will enjoy her journey as she meets the most interesting characters, the most intriguing men, loses her heart along the way, and finds herself.

Chapter 1: Love & Loss

    Shen Suan, the mysterious oracle of the lands, boldly pronounced after the birth of the first daughter of the Great Yan Emperor, Royal Princess Yu An, that if she did not marry by her nineteenth birthday, she would never marry...

   - Recorded in the Grand Royal Annals of the Yan Kingdom, Year 2088


    The Golden Peony Mansion was the grandest and most prestigious brothel in the Capital of the Yan Kingdom. To call it a brothel would also be too demeaning and simplistic, for it could more accurately be called an arts house, where the most beautiful and talented display their skills, and allow you to buy a dream, a most intoxicating dream for a night. 

  Tonight in the Golden Peony Mansion, it would not be an exaggeration to state that most of the gallant young men in the Capital were congregated here to watch the unveiling of the much rumored mythical great courtesan of the east. Yin Hua (吟花 - song of the flower), a legendary courtesan from the Wu Kingdom, known for its beautiful exotic women with their extraordinary musical talents, was said to be one of the best guzheng* players, second only to the Royal Princess of Wu herself. 

   Why would such a great courtesan travel to the Yan Kingdom? Was it for untold riches? Or was it, as rumoured, to find herself a true soulmate in music? 

  The grand hall of the Golden Peony Mansion fell silent - no more crunching of peanuts, no more boisterous cheering or jeering with the clinking of goblets and the sound of people finishing up vats and vats of alcohol. An absolutely ravishing vision in white appeared on stage, her steps soft and sultry, her face half-veiled with white silk, her eyes impossibly captivating. 

  The throng of men inwardly gasped as she sat down before her guzheng, seemed to smile below the white silk and started to play. It was a wild cascade of music, so passionate, so bold, like horses dashing through a desert storm - one felt one's senses being overwhelmed, then slowly, but inevitably sinking into the quicksand of her rhythm. 

  But, there was no peak to the music, her fingers seemed to slow down on the guzheng, as if disappointingly the horses running through the desert, could not find its proper homeland. It was all a mirage. When, suddenly, like a clash of thunder, a bolt straight through the heart, there was a sound of a rivaling guzheng from across the hall. 

  The heads turned away from the white goddess to a figure at the end of the hall. A young gentleman in simple light silverish-grey robes, seemingly unperturbed by the crowd, as his fingers entwined through the intercrossing tapestry of music from both Yin Hua and his guzheng. It was mesmerising - Yin Hua's horses became captive instead of the captor, as the world changed around them - no more the desert, there were the cascading of waterfalls, the deep bellows of mountains, the clarity of spring water... 

  The young gentleman's notes skipped tantalizingly deeper into a forest that Yin Hua had to follow - until she found herself in the middle of a clearing with peach blossom trees all in the thick of bloom. The duet reached the crescendo and Yin Hua found herself watching the peach blossom flowers fall, one by one, until they all rained upon her and she was swimming now in a sea of flowers. 

  The music stopped. Everyone held their breath as both players looked up. Yin Hua, her cheeks flushed, her eyes glittering. There was a stir when they saw the young gentleman's face - a heart-shaped face, like a young moon, luminescent, delicate, elegant. 

    The young gentleman was about to break into a smile when the main doors of the grand hall fell open. A troop of royal guards entered in steadily with the mistress of the mansion coquettishly batting her eyelids at the leader of the troop. 

   The crowd started to break into whispers - why it was the young Captain Hu Zi, son of the head of the Emperor's private elite army, Hu Jun. Captain Hu Zi was infamously reticent, cold and strict - was even the legendary stone moved by the great courtesan of the east? Some of the men inwardly groaned, with all these extraordinary competition, what chance would they stand in winning the hand of the beauty?
   During the commotion, the young gentleman had quickly made her escape. Yes, her escape. Yu An had failed to learn any of her father's great martial arts skills, but she did managed to learn one skill very successfully - qing gong (light martial arts) - to escape!

  Yu An had spent many nights playing in the Golden Peony Mansion so she was familiar with its internal structure. She quickly ran off to the side tower of the Golden Peony Mansion to try and escape from the less known side exit. But, she was startled to find that when she was about to jump out of the window of the side tower - there he was. 

   Hu Zi, annoyingly, already at the ground of the side exit. How could he? How fast could he be? 

    "Princess," Yu An heard Hu Zi's familiar call. They had done this dance a hundred times, she escaping and he calling her back. Even, after Hu Zi immersed himself in the royal army and rose up to the ranks to become a Captain, he always seemed to find the time to catch her back. There were truly not enough enemies for the Yan Kingdom's army!

   "Don't catch me back yet. I have not even gotten a chance to talk to Yin Hua!" Yu An cried back.

  But, there was something in Hu Zi's face that caused Yu An's voice to hesitate, something strong and hard, and almost dark. It was a foreign face. 

   Hu Zi's eyes did not turn away and he looked straight at Yu An, "Princess, the Grand Yan Emperor has just passed away."

  "Grandfather?" Yu An's body froze in shock. And, during that shock, she accidentally tripped and she felt herself falling...

  She closed her eyes but before her body hit the ground, she felt Hu Zi catch her in his arms. She hid her face in his chest. She did not see anything anymore as she heard Hu Zi coldly order the soldiers back as he carried her to the carriage. 

 So, Yu An did not see the startled looks on some of Hu Zi's new soldiers' faces. For they had never seen their cold Captain ever been so gentle to anyone.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 21.2: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix)

  Dear readers, thank you so much for your patience and well wishes. Honestly, having all the sweet advice and prayers for my health really warmed up my heart! Thank you. 

  I'm not yet fully well, but well enough to share this SUPER AWESOME (not being modest here) chapter with who else but THE GREAT ONE PHOENIX. Please read this while sitting down, because I will not be responsible for fainting spells. 

Chapter 21: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix (Part 2 of 5)

   After the Head Flower Leader left, Night and I silently faced each other as we drank finished a pot of tea. As I was about to rise to go apply medicine on my body, I heard Night asked, in a tone neither heavy nor light, "He has revived?"

  My feet paused and I turned around suddenly.

  Night's eyes were downcast as he seriously surveyed the tea leaves in his tea cup. The steam from the tea covered his face and I could not see his expression clearly. Suddenly, he lightly smiled and after a long while, he continued, "Although he has revived, he has descended and joined the ranks of the demons." He lifted his head and looked up at me, "He has already been revived for half a year. Half a year is such a long time but he had hid very well. It was only today that the Heavenly Realms received news of this......"

  I did not know why but my heart gave out a comfortable sigh.

  "Presently, everyone in the demon realms calls him one name, 'The Great One'*." He puckered his lips lightly, as if what he spoke of was a light matter, "In half a year, all the ten great kings of hell have fallen under his command."

  Lightly, he circled the green porcelain tea cup in his hand, the light swirling sound it made accompanied the slow circling of his words, "Jin Er, how did your feet get injured?"

  My back stiffened as I replied, "You already know why. It was hurt by the waters of the River of Forgetfulness."

  "Ah," He looked at me, I saw a glimpse of broken light flash through his eyes.

  I turned around, suddenly feeling upset, and hurriedly said, "I am going to apply my medicine."

  "Jin Er, you must remember that it's three parts medicine and seven parts rest, your feet are still not fully recovered and need more quiet rest." He reminded me gently from behind and my feet paused again. Before I exited, I turned around and my eyes met his own clear gaze. I suddenly had a feeling - if you can't see the sand and stones in the pond water, it may not be because the pond is clear and shallow, it may be that the pond is too deep too deep, that there is no bottom... a pond where you can't see the bottom, how would you know if it had any stones or sand?**

  On the second day, I took advantage of Night being busy with state affairs to escape the Heavenly Realms. The Nightmare Beast happily bounced after me and no matter how much I coaxed or threatened it, it would only blink its big watery eyes and innocently gaze at me. When I turned around, it would happily follow after me. Since there was no way of escaping it, I let it follow me.

  As I just exited the Southern Heavenly Gate, I was suddenly surprised by a round oily green thing on the road. When I turned to scrutinise it, I realised that it was a snake that had coiled up. I could not help but close my eyes and silently chant, "Lucky I did not step on it! Lucky I did not step on it!"

  The snake shook its tail and suddenly transformed. As I saw what the snake transformed into, I suddenly remembered something - I forgot to check the Yellow Calendar before I left the house, I had definitely left at the wrong time and met the wrong person. Alas, alas.

  "Beauty, I have finally caught you!" Although Master Pu Chi was not as round as Old Carrot Immortal, he was considered quite a tall male sprite. Since he was standing in the middle of the road, my aura was quite diminished and I was being blocked from going forward.

  I steadily moved back two steps and heard Master Pu Chi continue to nag, "It has only been a few years. Why has Beauty become so much slimmer? Indeed, you have inherited the beauty of the Flower Goddess and the Water God. I've decided to re-write the <The Grand Appreciation Tome of the Beauties in the Six Realm>. Right now, Jin Er's beauty can be considered supreme in all the six realms."

  I lifted up my hand to signal disagreement, "I'm only ordinary, ordinarily coquettish (Master Pu Chi uses the chinese term,  风骚 (feng sao) which can indicate beauty or a more sultry coquettishness and Jin Mi uses the latter sense). Actually, Master Pu Chi, you are very coquettish."

  Master Pu Chi happily lifted up one of his brows and responded, "Coquettishness is a virtue."

  I seriously nodded my head to satisfy him. I then lifted my head to see the sun and said, "Actually, to be blunt is also a virtue, what other matters does Master Pu Chi have?"

  Master Pu Chi suddenly lowered his head and said in a pure tone, "Actually, there is no real matter. I only wanted to see if Beauty is alright after the death of your father and your great illness?" Then his face suddenly changed into a furious expresion, "But the despicable heavenly soldiers refused to let me in, saying that I need permission from the Heavenly Emperor, I know..."  Master Pu Chi had a look of sudden realisation as he nodded his chin and looked at me, "It must be that Night is jealous of my looks and coquettish soul! He must be scared that if I appear, your heart will go to me! It must be so!" He clenched his fist.

  I could not help but admire Master Pu Chi's ability to change any conversation into a topic of feelings and love.

  Master Pu Chi suddenly grabbed my hand and solemnly said, "Instead of choosing a day, we might as well use this day that we met! Beauty, let's elope today!"

  I lifted my head up again to see the sun on top of my head. I waved my hand, "Another day. Let's elope another day. I have something to do today."

  As I finally managed to throw off this stumbling block Master Pu Chi and go forward, I suddenly heard Master Pu Chi say from behind me, "I heard that the bird had revived and fallen to the Demon Realms to become a Great Demon King. He reigns supreme there, everyone and everything is at his beck and call. Beauty, don't tell me you are heading to see him?" My feet stopped, I felt like my feelings were stripped bare for all to see.

    "Beauty! I advise you not to go, that bird is not the same bird as last time. Of course, last time, he was also not good, so proud and hateful that I wanted to strangle him. But, today he cannot be only described as proud... do you think the ten kings of hell are so easy to subdue? To become the Great Demon King, the bird has used all kinds of tactics... recently, he has also caused a blood bath in the Demon Realms - exterminating all rival forces. Right now, no one in the Demon Realms dare to oppose him. All ten kings of hell will respectfully call him, 'The Great One'. What's more he had died under your blade... if he sees you..."

  I bit my lip, "I want to see him, to see him from far away..."

  Master Pu Chi suddenly carefully looked at me, his expression had a shade of pity, "Beauty, did someone tie the wrong red thread and you have fallen for him?"

Thursday, 22 January 2015

#talk 30: I'm alive!

   I have not blogged for more than a week and that is very unlike me. I even got a few sad emails asking why I have not finished The Sun's Dark Love. I am so so so sorry, but I fell very very very ill a week ago and I'm still suffering. 

  I've fallen sick a lot in the past year. I've always had a weak immune system and I honestly think my office ventilation is not helping - every single time a spell of virus starts, I always fall sick and sometimes twice in one spell! 

  I've promised my husband to eat better, sleep better and exercise (yikes). Hopefully, my overall health will improve. Health is indeed wealth! 

  I'm still here! Just, not completely, because my brain feels slightly whacked with all the medication. I don't trust myself to translate or finish my stories. Hopefully, I will be back in fit condition in the weekend! *Cross fingers*

  For now, I have been watching the Korean Drama, "Healer". One of the most awww-inducing dramas I have watched for a while and healing (haha) for the soul. 

love, decembi 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 21.1: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix)

    How has the new year been for everyone? I have been so overwhelmed with social commitments (birthdays, weddings, etc) that I had little time to really sit down and read or even think in the new year. I'm starting to realise why people have staycations - sometimes you need to actually "reserve" time for yourself to recuperate. 

   The chapter title for Chapter 21 is interesting - 凤 (feng) and 凰 (huang), this was Phoenix's name in chinese, Feng Huang. Feng is the male character of Phoenix and Huang is the female character of Phoenix.

Chapter 21: The Male Phoenix and the Female Phoenix (Part 1 of 5)

   I sat at the side of the bed and massaged the soles of my feet. They must have been bitten by the ghosts in the gap in the tree stump. On my feet, there were many lines of abrasions of different depths. I felt a little sad over these injuries... Night had medicine for these injuries... the previous time when I had jumped into the River of Forgetfulness and gotten hurt, he had gotten someone to go to the end of the East China Sea to obtain mermaid tears to cure my wounds. But... to get the medicine from him, he will definitely find out that I went to the Demon Realm, and if he knew I went to the Demon Realm, he will be unhappy...

  Luckily, I had taken advantage of a gap to become steam and escape from the Demon Realm to return to the Heavenly Realm, so I did not disturb any god or ghost. I only had some mild physical injuries on my feet, I only needed to bite my teeth and endure. Just as I had decided to tolerate it and let it pass, I saw a white light at the edge of my eyes. 

  "Mi Er," A heavy voice called for me. I was shocked and hurriedly covered my feet with the silk blanket.

  "What happened to your feet?" Night lightly landed at the bench near my bed, his voice was neither high nor low, and he asked again, "Where did you go last night?"

  My heart grew fearful, "I did not go anywhere. Nowhere did I go... but...but..."

  He pressed down on the wrinkles between his brows, without saying a word he lifted up the blanket, the injuries on my feet was completely exposed before his eyes. I shrunk my toes and heard him say, "Mi Er, you must know that no matter what you do, I would not blame you. You don't need to hide from me. But, the only thing I cannot allow is for you to hurt yourself. Yesterday, did you go to the River of Forgetfulness?"

 I did not answer but my guilty heart relaxed a little. It turns out he thought I had entered the River of Forgetfulness. He let out a sigh and took out the medicine from his robes. He personally dabbed the medicine on my feet. I did not know why but I suddenly felt a little panicked and I shrunk my toes, "Let me apply it myself."

  He did not stop, his brows did not rise. He calmly said, "What is there to be embarrassed of between us?" In that moment, I did not know how to answer. He gripped my feet tightly, "Mi Er, when will you be willing to marry me?"

   My feet subconsciously stiffened and I mumbled, "You must know, I have been struck with a voodoo spell. I don't want to infect you."

  His hand froze, after a long while, he finally continued to apply the medicine. Gently, he lowered his eyes as if he was concentrating on his hand movements, he repeatedly said, "Voodoo spell... voodoo spell?" He lifted up his head and smiled, "You know I do not mind. Besides, I'm afraid I was struck with this voodoo spell even before you."

   I was startled for a moment and my heart tightened, I did not know how to answer. But, he lowered his head again and lightly applied the medicine for me, as if he did not care and was not waiting for my answer. My heart that had rose finally steadily landed. We silently faced each other without speaking. After both of my feet were completely applied with the medicine by Night at least seven or eight times, he finally placed my feet down and stood up. He brushed his sleeves that did not have a single crease and said, "I must discuss matters with the gods, you should rest in the yard for these two days to recuperate."

  I gave a sound in affirmation and saw him turn and leave. At the door, the Nightmare Beast that had eaten a full meal last night shrunk back, he fearfully laid down on the floor, only lifting up his head and bowing to Night after Night had travelled very far away. Li Zhu brought breakfast and started to nag when she saw me, she started with a "Great God, you really don't love yourself" and ended with a "You only know how to make the Heavenly Emperor worry for you". 

 I really could not understand how a glorious and great Heavenly Emperor like Night could be described like a emotionally burdened and lost scholar by Li Zhu. 

  I thought the injuries on my feet would recover fully within two days, but they actually took half a year to fully recover. During this time, everytime I tried to get up and walked, I felt a burning prickling pain under my feet. Although there was a tiny voice that repeatedly begged and pushed me to go see the person who placed the voodoo spell on me, but no matter how much I tried, I could only hobble breathlessly to the entrance of the Nine Star Palace with the help of Li Zhu. It was only when I was lying down or sitting that I did not feel pain. There was no way for me to ride a cloud, so in this half of year, I did not even step out of the Nine Star Palace.

  Although I did not step out, just the thought of that person being alive in the six realms, gave a strange sense of peace in my heart. I ate less sweets, and I even ate some normal food sometimes. Thus, I was certain that it was Phoenix that had placed this voodoo spell on me. But it was not clear if I had solved the voodoo spell, whenever I thought of Sui He and Phoenix together, my heart became extremely uncomfortable. It was likely that the voodoo spell was not completely resolved yet.

   Today, the Head Flower Leader took time out to visit me. Coincidentally, my feet had recovered and so I excitedly personally made tea for her. The ties between the Flower World and the Heavenly Realms had improved greatly since Night became the Heavenly Emperor. The Flower World abolished the ban to the Heavenly Realms so the gods and sprites could travel easily between each realms. In the last twelve years, the twelve leaders will frequently visit me when they came to the Heavenly Realms, but because the voodoo spell was so deeply ingrained within my body, everytime when they came, I would only silently sit. When they asked me questions, I would answer in a random fashion. Sometimes Night saw that my mental state was not good and would politely decline the visits. 

  But, today, the Head Flower Leader was shocked as she saw me pour tea for her, "Jin Mi, how is your body lately?"

  I sipped a mouth of tea and thought for a moment. I finally could not hold back my curiosity and asked the Head Flower Leader, "Head Flower Leader, do you know that the mortal realms have something called a voodoo spell?"

  The Head Flower Leader nodded, "I have heard that the person struck by the voodoo spell will act like he or she has lost his or her heart. They cannot control their words and actions and are no longer themselves."

  "It is exactly like you said. I'm afraid I have been struck by a voodoo spell."

  The tea cup in the Head Flower Leader's hands landed on the table with a sound and she looked at me strangely. Since she was confused, I explained to her my symptoms over the years. The Head Flower Leader's expression darkened and her brows furrowed as if she had fallen into deep thought. After half a moment, she seriously looked at my face and then spat out something completely shocking, "Jin Mi, have you fallen in love with the Fire God?"

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Heavy Sweetness Ash-Like Frost: Translation (Chapter 20.4: The Hurt of Honey)

   Wishing Everyone A Happy New Year! Isn't it amazing how it's 2015 already? I wonder what the new year will bring. I have lots of wishes and ideas for my blog and I will be so happy if even 20% of it come true. Some of my ideas cost a lot (sigh) so I have added some text ads at the side and bottom to see if I can cover the costs, though I remain doubtful and I have chosen those ads that are less obtrusive so it won't affect the user experience. Feedback is always welcome! 

    I will also be wrapping up the Mermaid Legend recaps (yes! It's not very popular but it's one of my principles to finish projects I started in one way or another) and The Sun's Dark Love. For a change of pace and flavour, I actually plan to start on a short modern chinese romantic novel translation. I'm sure all of you will love it! So, do watch out for that. 

  For now, the stakes are increasing in Heavy Sweetness. And, we have the long awaited awakening of Phoenix! 

Chapter 20: The Hurt of Honey (Part 4 of 4)
  My twenty longings became a flash, twenty flashes became a snap of the finger, twenty snaps of a finger became an instant, twenty instants became a moment, one day and one night had three thousand moments. 

  In ten years, there were one million and ninety five hundred thousand moments... I drew ten thousand parchments and managed to endure. 

   I was always by the side of the River of Forgetfulness, looking aimlessly and endlessly in the empty waters, every look became half a day. The old grandfather who steered the boat nodded at me, cleared his throat and said casually, "Recently besides my lady, I often see someone else in the night. Besides coming here once twelve years ago, this person has been taking the boat over the River of Forgetfulness to the Demon Realms every night."
 I lightly answered in affirmation, I have always been uninterested in my surroundings. However, since I did not want to waste the old grandfather's kind intentions in talking to me, I asked casually, "Who is this person?"

  "I am just someone who steers the boat and do not recognise many people. However, this person's garments were special and left an impression," He added slowly, "Her outer coat was made up of the grand feathers of hundred birds, her skirt looked expensive and exceptional, her status must not be low."

  Sui He

  I did not answer, I lowered my head deep in thought. I could not figure out why would Princess Sui He of the Bird Tribes come so frequently to the Demon Realms.

  At night, Night was too busy with state affairs to have time to monitor me while I sleep. I tossed and turned and could not fall asleep. I decided to use a Drowsy Worm to try and cause the guarding Li Zhu to fall asleep, then I used Li Zhu's sweet dreams to seduce the hungry Nightmare Beast to go eat. After finally escaping from these two guardians, I flew to the River of Forgetfulness. I paid quite a bit of toll fees to cross the river and the old grandfather steadily brought me to the entrance of the Demon Realms.

  After losing sixty percent of my divine strength, my essence had dissipated quite a bit. Since my divine origins belonged to water, once I immersed myself in the atmosphere of the deep and dark night, it was almost impossible to discern my presence. Furthermore, I cloaked myself with invisibility and after following Sui He for half the journey, she still did not realise my presence.

  I observed that she purposely avoided places where the ghosts, ghouls and sprites will frequently travel and intentionally picked narrow and hidden small routes to walk. When she walked, her whole aura was cautious and alert, and she would often turned to the right, left, back and front to check. Seeing her like this, I guessed that Sui He must be doing some sneaky - either to steal something or to steal emotions (the connotation is to have an affair, but plays on the word steal in chinese), ether way it could not escape from the word "steal".

  Finally, I saw her stop in front of a tree stump. After checking that no one was following her, she lifted her right hand and used the tip of her index finger to dab the morning dew on the gas and then lightly drew on the ring arcs of the tree. In a moment, the tree stump suddenly broke open in the middle and there was a fiery red passage. Sui He immediately entered and the passage appeared to be closing.

  Quickly, I rushed forward to keep the passage open, but I was a step late and saw it close without a trace before me. As I was about to copy what Sui He had did earlier, I heard voices from inside. So, I pricked up my ear and used my divine powers to lean onto the tree stump and listened.

  There were two voices! A male and a female!

  The female must be Sui He, the male... the voice was old, thick and foreign, my excited heart sunk and drowned in the deep marshes. 

  "Lao Jun has a divine pill... but it's not appropriate for me to ask for it. The Heavenly Emperor is sharp and watching carefully, if I ask Lao Jun for the divine pill, he will find out within half a day. This will all be revealed at once... this is the divine lingzhi from the Flower Realms... in the past, the Head Flower Leader of the Flower Realms had wrongly accused the Bird Tribe for a hundred years so she could not refuse me when I asked for this... but, she only has three left and all these were made from the previous Flower Goddess, the only person who is able to plant this now... besides.... there is no one else... but this person was willing to murder... so what good is it?"

  "We can only use the divine lingzhi now to hold on... there is no other way... it must be hard on Sui He to search so hard and far devotedly..."

  Even when I used my powers, I could not listen to the entire conversation properly. There were often gaps and breaks.

  "Sui He must thank the Sixth King instead, if not for your Highness acting fast, how would we be able to keep..."

  "No, it was lucky... Sui He did you garner any attention for coming here so frequently?"

  "I've been carefully, but I do not know why I felt a sense of unease today. So I shall leave earlier... there is no boundary outside the secret passage outside... will that be wise?"

  "You don't understand. If we create a boundary, it's like planting a signboard in the ground to say 'There is no gold buried here', it will hint to people that there is something here......"

  In a moment, the gap in the tree stump opened. Luckily, I managed to get away fast and became a morning dew on the surrounding grass. However, as Sui He stepped outside of the secret passage, she sharply looked around and her glance finally landed on my 'dew' body in the grass patch. She seemed to suspiciously look closer but she couldn't find anything and so she finally turned and left.

  When she finally left far away, I loosened up and let out a long breath of air. In a moment, the gap in the tree stump opened again and a male came out.

  I realised that he was one of the Ten Kings of Hell - the one that was number six. He turned around to check the tree stump once and then waved his hand to move the surrounding grass to camouflage it. Unless you looked carefully, you would think that this was just a broken tree stump, you won't even think that there was a secret passage in it.

  As the Sixth King disappeared, until his thin and tall body vanished in the dark redness of the Demon Realms, I finally transformed back from the water dew.

  I pressed my body down onto the top of the tree stump to listen but I could not hear anything. I tried to reach out my hand to take a dew of water to follow Sui He's actions previously, but my fingers would not listen to my command. The tips of my fingers were involuntarily shivering, I forcefully suppressed the deep surging desire that has been growing inside me for twelve years, used my left hand to hold tightly onto my right wrist and managed to stabilise the shivering, and I followed the ring arcs of the tree one by one......