I feel incredibly touched to have people following this story from the start - it has taken me a year plus to finish this! Thank you for your patience and most of all, thank you to Dian Xian for creating such a beautiful story.
Chapter 24: The Tears of the Deep Blue Sea (Part 2 of 2)
Today when I just opened my eyes I saw that everything was shining. It was so dazzling that my eyes spouted gold stars. When I finally stabilisied my consciousness and looked carefully, I was truly shocked.
Wasn't the person in front Grandfather Buddha? How could he be so easily seen? This host of mine must come from quite a big backing.
"Xu Feng greets the Buddha." Xu Feng? So his real name is Xu Feng.
The Buddha was sitting cross-legged on top of the lily platform, his lowered eyes lightly looked at him, in one glance it was as if he saw through everything, "You do not need to ask, what can be done, even without asking will be done, what cannot be done, even if you ask a hundred times, it will also end up empty."
I felt the body of my host pause, his breathing froze for a moment then I heard him speak lowly, "Xu Feng understands this logic. I will have to face the consequences of what I caused, but..." He paused for a long time before continuing, "I just want to see her again, even one glance is fine... if not one glance, even hearing one word from her....."
Although his looks were ugly, his voice was nice to listen. I did not know why but today his voice was hoarse and broken, like a brokenhearted child with choked sobs.
After a long while, he continued, "Her soul has not completely dispersed, I can still feel her presence but I do not know where she is. I don't ask for anything else, I just ask for some guidance."
Grandfather Buddha let out a breath and said, "Before your eyes, at the heart of your eyes, only your heart can see."
What profound words. Such a smart soul like me could not understand, I did not know if my host understood.
"Grateful for Buddha's guidance..." Hearing his tone, it was clear he also did not understand. He held his breath for a long time as if reflecting on something important to say, finally he opened his mouth, "I don't know if there is still a thread of hope?"
Buddha replied, "A foolish thought will lead to an end, but an intelligent thought has a chance of revival."
Grandfather Buddha was sincere and warm, answering whatever he was asked, but the answers were not something that anyone could understand. This was why Buddha was Buddha, and I was only a small soul.
After thinking deeply for a while, I fell asleep.
When I awoke, I saw that my host had returned to his residence. But in front of him stood a gentleman in light blue robes that I had never seen before. His robes were loose like an elegant god.
"I once thought we were equal rivals with our own pride and position. Just as long as we continued facing each other, one of us will triumph. But now, I finally understood, for some things there was never a loss or victory, never a right or wrong, there is only what is missed... I calculated the start wrongly, you calculated the end wrongly...... full of regret, but unable to return to the start..." The light blue robed gentleman spoke very lightly, very gently, but the space between his brows had a sadness and regret that could not be released, like a gush of sad spring wind that had missed its time.
"Wrong?" My host slowly opened his mouth, "No, you did not calculate wrongly, it is only I never calculated. Unless even till now you still don't understand that what must be avoided in love is 'calculating'? I never calculated, I don't believe I missed. I only believe in wrongs."
The blue robed gentleman appeared to have been pricked at a sensitive spot and did not answer. After a while, he said, "Sui He has been imprisoned by me."
Hearing this, my host only gave a light affirmative sound indicating that he knew but his heart was not in it. I followed his eyes and saw a parchment from the sleeve of the blue robed gentlemen's robe.
Before he left, he gave pieces of paper to my host, "I thought that there were some stuff she wanted to give you. Although I am ten thousand times unwilling and truly want to keep it, but... what is not mine will never be mine......"
My host received the yellowed papers, looked at the retreating back of the blue robes and said four words, "Never to fight again."
The blue robed gentleman nodded and said while looking directly at my host, "Never to fight again". With that, he left.
Four words to end all hate.
But why did I find the yellowed papers a little familiar? Seeing them being flipped one by one, they became more and more familiar.
Every piece had a drawing, but the skill of the artist was truly poor. Let's not speak of others but the drawing in front, after seeing half a day then I realised it was a bird. But, what kind of bird it was would be hard to tell... it was a strangely shaped crow with a long tail, but also looked like a phoenix that had dropped all its feathers, truly hard to tell, very hard to tell.
I was shaking my head at these truly horrendous drawing skills when I saw a silhouette on one of the paper. Very few strokes, but a truly extraordinarily proud gentleman rose from the paper, phoenix eyes, thin lips, appearing emotionless but full of feelings, it led one to start to fantasize, led one to want to step into the painting to find out his true self.
After my host flipped the papers finished, I realised that most of the drawings were of the arrogant gentleman - sitting or standing, scolding or angry, although it was always the side or the back, but the depictions were truly moving, one smile, one frown, it was as if the person was before one's eyes.
I couldn't help being confused, this person drew the flowers and birds so badly, but why just this gentleman was drawn so spectacularly true to life?
Why would he suddenly call out this name while looking at the drawings?
I saw his long slim fingers crush an end of the paper, slowly tightening his grip, his force was so big that the ends of his fingertips turned white, as if he wanted to catch something out of his reach, as if he was holding in deep pain.
"Why are you so silly... so silly.... I thought I was already silly... but who would have thought that you were even more silly than me!"
"Why were you so silly? I taught you for a hundred years, you did not learn anything, but only learned this idiotic silliness? Stupid!"
"It's enough for me to be silly, but why are you so silly too?.... do you know... I cannot bear...."
I was truly dizzy by his monologue on silliness. But his disdain of stupidity made me angry, what's wrong with being silly? Didn't he hear that silly people had their own silly happiness?
"From the start, I knew that you were the one who saved me... that rabbit, from the first moment I saw, I could tell it was you, but I pretended that I did not know... because I knew that if we saw each other again, it would be massacre, but I could not bear to do so. Although you lied to me, you killed me, although I reminded myself in every moment that I must hate you, I must personally kill you, but once I faced you, the best defence and plans would break without a fight, not even worth speaking about. Not only could I not do it, I even secretly looked forward to seeing you, as if I was poisoned, even I disdained myself......"
"That night, I was not drunk... but I pretended I was drunk, hugging you, hugging you tight, having you, you really made me drunk. I was secretly satisfied and wished that this would last forever. As if any hatred between us was only the passing of a cloud, such a thought scared me, made me hate myself, hated that for you I softened my heart until I could give up my life and pride."
"I purposely called Sui He's name, only to remind myself not to be seduced by you. But, once I saw your lonely expression, saw how chaotic your steps were when you left, my heart was in pain, even breathing was painful, I wanted to chase after you and tell you it was not what you thought."
"That day, when you came to the Demon Realms, when you actually told me you loved me. My heart stopped beating in that moment. Although even my hair knew that it was a lie, but I believed it, I couldn't be myself. My mouth was full of disdain for you, but my heart had warmed from your words."
"I forced myself to say those cruel things to you, I said to you, 'If you said you love me again, I will immediately kill you. Say once, kill once!' But I knew that if you just said it once more, I would give up everything, not caring for anything, ruthlessly keep you by my side, throwing away the deepest revenge to the back of my head... but, you left, how could you just walk away like this?"
"Seeing you transform into a sheet of frost flowers that evaporated away... I thought I died. Even your knife that stabbed through my core was not as painful... but, I didn't die... why are you always so cruel?"
Hearing his self mutterings, I did not know how to feel, I only hated that I could not immediately transform into a grape to make him happy.
But how could I transform? Just as I was troubled and did not know what to do, I felt my surroundings begin to change. There were vapours gathering around me and solidifying on me, finally it froze me into position.
A thought flashed in my heart - not good!
But it was too late. I saw myself like the rosin that freezes the moth, I slid out of his eyes with the vapours surrounding me.
It turns out I was one of the tear drops residing in his eyes, from the start, we were fated to separate......
In this moment, a feeling of unwillingness actually arose in me. In the moment when I fell, I turned to look at him, he was not an ugly demon at all, he was an extremely handsome gentleman.
It was unexpected, and yet also within expectations.
It was fated in life... I sighed and slid down.
Final Chapter: Blossoming Flowers and the Full Moon*
Spring had arrived early again. The peach blossoms were in full bloom.
The troupe from the Capital had grandly received the eldest daughter from the Jin family for marriage and was returning north towards the Capital.
Although the district was small, the roads were not easy to travel. As the troupe just left the border of the district, the sun was already setting. Seeing the sun falling with the moon rising, the troupe set down the sedan to rest. But who would have thought that after the sunset, a ball of fiery red clouds would burst forth, in a moment, the sky was ablaze. Seeing this, everyone was dazed speechless like wooden chickens.
Suddenly, a clear bird cry could be heard from deep within the red clouds. A multi-coloured bird extended its wings through the sky, its tail were eight "chi" long, sparkling with brilliance, so grand that no one could look directly at it.
"Phoenix! It's a phoenix!" The most sharp person from the troupe reacted and kept crying loudly and the rest regained consciousness from his cries. They were all shocked. Some actually thought in their hearts, "It was truly amazing! A phoenix has arrived! A phoenix has arrived! If such a sacred bird appeared, unless.. unless... Jin Imperial Concubine would actually become the Empress?!"
However, no matter how much the troupe outside cried agitatedly, the maiden in the sedan did not move. The tassels hanging on her headpiece did not even shake once, as if all these were within expectations. She sat steadily like a mountain, without even half of the curiosity of a normal person.
The fire phoenix flew above the troupe, everyone became respectful and fearful at once, they did not even know how to breathe.
The phoenix carried its long brilliant tail and coiled once above the people's heads. A big red bird bridge rose and started to spread under the startled gaze of everyone......
"Not good! The Phoenix has come to snatch the bride!"
Under the glow of the moon, at the side of the steep multi-peaked mountains, there was a spread of unending blossoming canola flowers. In the sea of golden yellow flowers, there was a bright red marital sedan that was completely dazzling but also peaceful, as if it had already been waiting there for very long, very long......
Already five thousand years have passed......
It turned out that what it was waiting for was this truly lively snatch wedding!
Far away, green rocks under an arched bridge, a bend of spring water.
A handsome gentleman walked from deep in the sea of flowers. The golden yellow canola flowers automatically moved away from his steps to reveal a straight route.
A gush of wind blew by bringing with it a light flower rain and also blowing open the fiery red sedan veil, blowing away the bride's red headpiece......
The handsome gentleman opened a paper umbrella to shield from the sky full of flower rain. He leaned forward with his hand stretched out, "Jin Mi, I have come."
The maiden in the sedan lightly smiled, and placed her hand into his palm, she blinked and said, "But, I have already accepted the little emperor's bride gifts."
The maiden's palm was forcefully pinched. The gentleman said, "Ah, what a waste of the six thousand years of divine essence I prepared."
After hearing this, the maiden's mouth curved into a cunning angle, she gripped tight his hand and hurriedly rose from the sedan, "If so, then I guess I just have to make do."
Everything was silent except for the sound of the birds and the bees.
Under the moonlight, everything was perfect.
*Indicates perfect conjugal/matrimonial bliss.
Comments: I absolutely loved Chapter 24 which made me tear the first time I read it. Maybe Phoenix and Jin Mi's falling in love was rather abrupt - I never really understood why Phoenix fell in love with Jin Mi, but he did - truly and irrevocably. But, I like how in Chapter 24 there is no doubt how much they loved each other! I thought it was a nice touch how the final watery form Jin Mi took was Phoenix's tears - there's a circularity and perfection in that as a metaphor for their love story.
The final chapter is such a non-chapter, but it's really cute and returns us to the more jovial fun spirit of the beginning of the book. Aww, Phoenix waited for five thousand years for Jin Mi and they are finally united.
I think it's assumed that Jin Mi has her memories as a god even after she was reincarnated as a human. It truly is wonderful to see them have sweetness together. At last!
There are five epilogues after this - two are set in the story timelines and three will reflect Phoenix and Jin Mi's post-marriage lives. Perhaps, we can discuss the fate of Night more deeply then!