Dearest readers, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support as I wrote this story. I had planned to end it around Christmas last year, but lost a bit of momentum from work and sickness. I actually re-read the whole story twice before finally completing the ending. There were parts of the story I really like and parts that I wish I could have improved on --- but I suspect story-telling is always a work in progress. I have very strong ideas but it has been a huge learning experience for me in deciding the best ways to convey these ideas and feelings, and I'm still learning!
I will post an author's note reflecting on my plans and thoughts for this story later. I have no plans for any epilogues for The Sun's Dark Love since Yu An's story, The Princess Who Cannot Marry, starts a few years after The Sun's Dark Love's timeline. But, if you have any wishes regarding this story and possible epilogues, do feel free to add in the comments below and I will consider -if there is still enough story to tell!
Before, we go into the chapter proper - I would like to thank the following readers for their support:
To the many wonderful anonymous commentors, Diandra, samie, uw_maulida, sut3kii, bingu, macopaleaf, lemonsalt, Lola, hanny, Hanako, ChocolateCosmos, fangorn, Super-latte, Dedicated, Unknown, afngrl247, Elaine Teo, kiyo, Atz, Nightflower, dree, CL, Julianne Lin, hh, ginny hale, mango, marie st claire, inno, cha, Harley, nur_hanis, Rox, aimey, Nan, Summer, Lily, Miche, Bella, AMM, klutzyfeli, saire, Waranya Teokul, Kaddict4ever, Karol and Jennifer.
Thank you so much. Without your comments, it would have been so much harder writing this story.
Chapter 20: The Sun's Dark Love
Xi Yang had already lost count of the steps he took as he followed the golden thread plunged deep into his heart. His only concern was that the sun was setting... for his powers were always strongest when the sun was dominant.
Xi Yang suddenly felt the golden thread cut deeper into his heart - like a sharp blade being forced in by a ruthless hand. Except, the ruthless hand was himself, as he tried to speed up his steps. Xi Yang spat out a pool of brilliant red blood - in all his years as a Great God, he had never been injured, he had never seen the colour of his blood. He smirked - so it's true, gods will still bleed.
But, he felt no physical pain - because the emotional turmoil of not knowing where Wang Huan was, whether she was alive or sound, overwhelmed everything else. For a Great God who never thought of anything beyond his own invincibility, Xi Yang finally realised fear.
Far away, in an underground lair, Wang Huan had been brought out of the room Yan Zun was recuperating in by two stone-faced maidens. They were cleaning her up and dressing her in new red marital robes with golden embroidery.
As Wang Huan's pressure points were immobilised, she could not move but could only stare at the two maidens as they dolled her up. As they clothed her, Wang Huan tried her best to sense where the crystal bead Xi Yang gave her or the icy blue bead Princess Le Yan had given her was...
To her surprise, one of the maidens suddenly waved both beads in front of her eyes, "Trying to find these?"
The other maiden laughed coldly and placed a sharp scabbard at Wang Huan's throat, "You better forget any wicked ideas you may have and obediently go through with the marriage ceremony or only death will befall you."
As one of the maidens was about to take out the wooden hairpin Xi Yang had given her, Wang Huan gave a pitiful cry, "It's a gift from my mother. Please let me wear it for the marriage ceremony... to denote my parent's blessings for the marriage."
The two maidens exchanged a glance with each other but they left the hairpin alone. Wang Huan's heart loosened a little as the two maidens started to carry her back to the previous room.
Wang Huan was placed carefully on the bed in the room and the two maidens quickly left. Wang Huan turned to observe Yan Zun who was meditating on a cushioned day bed at the side of the room.
Wang Huan thought it was strange that even now, she could not hate Yan Zun or even be angry with him. She only felt a huge sense of loss, even grief, that Yan Zun had betrayed the trust underlying their entire relationship. It was all gone now... that innocence from their childhood. No more golden memory from the past, only the taste of the present betrayal.
After what seemed like an eternal moment, Yan Zun's eyes flickered open. His face was still pale and there appeared to be no trace of blood in his face, but it only seemed to add a greater sense of fragility to his delicately handsome looks.
"I wish I could say I was sorry," Yan Zun started to say as his eyes looked into Wang Huan, "But I'm not."
"You... can hate me," Yan Zun continued, "Hate every fibre of my being. But, I will love you, Wang Huan, I will love enough for both of us."
"It's painful," Wang Huan replied, "The immobilisation of my pressure points is painful..."
Something seemed to ran through Yan Zun's eyes, but he rose and walked towards Wang Huan. Wang Huan held her breath as Yan Zun bent down and released her pressure points.
One of the maidens had returned. She bowed towards Yan Zun, "Leader, the ceremony is ready."
The two maidens were surprised when Yan Zun gave Wang Huan his hand and pulled her up. Yan Zun gave a signal indicating that Wang Huan will walk by herself to the ceremony.
Yan Zun gripped Wang Huan's hand tightly as they walked through the tunnel to a separate hall. Although it was underground, the hall was surprisingly bright - lit with tons of candles and glittering red and gold gems. In the middle of the hall, there was a grand gold-like throne, and sitting resplendently on it was Madam Xue Zhu. A wooden plaque sat next to Madam Xue Zhu... Wang Huan guessed in her heart that it was Yan Zhu's father's plaque.
Wang Huan nearly stumbled from the bloodthirsty hunger dripping from Madam Xue Zhu's gaze, but Yan Zun steadied her and they continued walking down the red carpet towards Madam Xue Zhu.
When they reached before Madam Xue Zhu, one of the maidens cried, "The bride and groom bow towards the heavens."
Yan Zun pulled Wang Huan's hand lightly and they both turned around and bowed towards the exit. They then turned back and faced Madam Xue Zhu.
Wang Huan felt the speed of her heartbeat increasing exponentially and her ears almost deafened by her heart's rapid thumping as she carefully watched Madam Xue Zhu's face. She heard the maiden cry, "The bride and groom bow towards the parents."
Wang Huan knew it was now or never - she had summoned all her strength, will and determination as her eyes gripped tightly on the dark energies of greed in Madam Xue Zhu's bloodthirsty gaze.
She internally willed Madam Xue Zhu to freeze and in that moment when Madam Xue Zhu was paralysed, Wang Huan quickly took down the wooden hairpin from her hair and plunged forward. The wooden hairpin was made from a branch of the sacred tree of Mother Nature - it was the perfect counterbalance to the twisted internal essence of Madam Xue Zhu which was inherently against the natural cycle. Still, her resolve weakened and she could not make herself stab Madam Xue Zhu's internal divine core which was at the centre of her eyes, and she directed the hairpin into Madam Xue Zhu's chest instead. Wang Huan only wanted to weaken Madam Xue Zhu and use her to escape this marriage ceremony and place...
But, instead of stabbing Madam Xue Zhu, she felt the wooden hairpin being flicked out of her hand, and Madam Xue Zhu breaking out of the paralysis during Wang Huan's moment of weakness and directing her own sharp talons into Wang Huan instead.
Madam Xue Zhu's deadly palms never reached Wang Huan. They hit straight into Yan Zhu's chest instead as both Wang Huan and Yan Zun went flying towards the end of the hall. Yan Zun had dived in front of Wang Huan at the critical moment and taken the blow.
Wang Huan watched in horror as black blood flowed out of Yan Zun's mouth. Because he had already been severely weakened by the dark shrouding spell he had placed on Wang Huan and the spell he used to escape the Dark Realms, Yan Zun's divine core was already in disturbance and Madam Xue Zhu's poisonous blows were enough to truly throw Yan Zun's pulse in chaos.
Wang Huan gripped Yan Zun's wrist and knew that Yan Zun was about to die. His vital blood vessels have all been broken...
Wang Huan felt a heating sensation in her eyes as she blinked back tears, "Yan Zun..."
Yan Zun coughed another mouthful of blood, but he smiled at Wang Huan, "Have I told you how beautiful you look today?"
And, then, Wang Huan watched as his delicate lids fell... and Yan Zun's eyes were closed.
Before Wang Huan could react, she heard a ferocious roar from the other end of the hall. Her eyes widened in horror as Madam Xue Zhu had transformed into an enormous black widow spider.
Wang Huan watched as the hall started rumbling. Perhaps due to the effects of Madam Xue Zhu's transformation, the entire underground lair seemed to be crumbling.
There was a huge explosive sound and the two maidens, Wang Huan and Madam Xue Zhu got thrown to a side. There was a crack above them --- and Wang Huan felt like the rays of sunlight that fell in were like arrows plunging into her heart. No, Wang Huan thought determinedly, I cannot die before I see Xi Yang again.
But, the sharp pain in her heart started to ease as she steadied herself and raised her head. The tears started to stream down her face when she saw the familiar face of her heart looking intensely down at her from above.
"Wang Huan!" He cried.
Before Wang Huan could respond, her body was trapped in the sharp talons of Madam Xue Zhu's deformed monstrous spider. Wang Huan looked on worriedly for Xi Yang's eyes were bloodshot, his hair wild and there was blood on his lips and robes --- Wang Huan could tell that it was his own blood. Xi Yang looked severely weakened.
"What my son can't have, no one else can think of having, "Madam Xue Zhu declared venomously, "You can be my son's bride in hell." Madam Xue Zhu's grip on Wang Huan tightened and Wang Huan knew that Madam Xue Zhu planned to crush her alive.
"I'm afraid that your son tried to marry the wrong bride, " Wang Huan heard Xi Yang coldly say as Xi Yang cracked opened Madam Xue Zhu's talons around Wang Huan.
Wang Huan watched in horror as another one of Madam Xue Zhu's talons plunged straight into Xi Yang's body - but he smiled calmly at Wang Huan, for in the time Madam Xue Zhu had plunged into him, Xi Yang had taken advantage of the distance and pressed his palm into the centre of Madam Xue Zhu's forehead. Madam Xue Zhu started to burn - but with a fire that burned inside. Xi Yang had willingly sacrificed his body in order to get close enough to kill Madam Xue Zhu without hurting Wang Huan.
As Madam Xue Zhu's body crumpled, Xi Yang forcefully extracted her talons out of his body. Quickly, he went over to Wang Huan and carried her up.
"You are bleeding," Wang Huan cried as her palms tried to press Xi Yang's wound.
"It's nothing. Trivial cuts," Xi Yang scoffed.
Xi Yang turned and glared at the two maidens at the side. They were too frightened and had fallen to their kneels and kept bowing their heads to the ground, "Please spare us. We are only small demons made to follow Madam Xue Zhu's orders for fear of death."
"Spare them," Wang Huan said, "They allowed me to keep the wooden hairpin you gave me."
Xi Yang fiercely tossed his head to one side as if signaling that the two maidens could scram and then he walked to the other side of the hall and picked up the wooden hairpin.
Xi Yang smiled gently as he placed the hairpin into Wang Huan's hair, "Will you marry me?"
Wang Huan looked at Xi Yang as if he was insane, "We need to get a physician to look at your injuries first."
Xi Yang looked deep into Wang Huan's eyes, "Will you marry me?"
Wang Huan nodded, "Of course."
Xi Yang's mouth pricked up into a smile, "With the wooden hairpin as our symbol, I, Xi Yang, Crown Prince Sun of the Heavenly Realms, take you Wang Huan, Princess of the Dark Realms, as my wife. Forever and ever will our souls be entwined."
Wang Huan's hand cradled Xi Yang's face as she nodded, "I, Wang Huan, take Xi Yang, my Ri, as my husband. Forever and ever will our souls be entwined."
Xi Yang leaned forward and kissed Wang Huan tightly.
After a long while, Wang Huan pushed Xi Yang back. "Now, can we find a physician to treat your wounds?"
Xi Yang pulled back with a satisfied grin. "The rescue party should be here."
Wang Huan lifted her head up - and her eyes blinked back in surprise to see, The Dark Lord and An Hun above. Her father and her brother.
She felt like her heart could burst. Because, she had never been so sure, as she was at this moment, that she was truly loved.
It was decided that the truth of the situation would be hidden - Yan Zun, Leader of the Spider Tribe, would be given a noble burial. The official reason for the death of Yan Zun was that he had died trying to rescue Royal Princess Wang Huan from the kidnapping by rebel factions from the Spider Demon Tribe that planned to take revenge on Crown Prince Sun through the Royal Princess. The Spider Demon Tribe was not officially banished from the Dark Realms, but the tribe chose to remain in the purple deserts.
As for Royal Princess Mei Yan, although she tried to insist on an alibi from the official ceremony taking place in the Envy Tribe that day - the Dark Lord had been resolute and the Envy Tribe decided to cut their losses and sacrifice their royal princess in order to maintain their position in the Dark Realms. Royal Princess Mei Yan's memory and powers were stripped from her and she was thrown into the wheel of destiny to live as a snake in the mortal realms - to suffer from the bad karma of all her evil deeds.
Thus, the disappearance of the Royal Princess from the Dark Realms was as quickly settled as it arose. No god, dark immortal or demon dared say anything when Crown Prince Sun and the Dark Princess Wang Huan arrived in the Heavenly Realms - with blood all over their robes. For as blood-stained as they appeared, no one could deny the bond they shared in their eyes.
What was shocking was Crown Prince Sun's announcement that Wang Huan and him had already married each other in their hearts so they can skip the Royal Engagement Ceremony to a proper Wedding Ceremony.
Although the Heavenly Empress happily agreed with Crown Prince Sun, the Jade Emperor and the Dark Lord disagreed - so Crown Prince Sun and the Royal Princess Wang Huan still had to follow the proper procedures for marriage.
And, indeed they did, for their wedding, when it was finally held, was the grandest one the Heavens had seen in ages. Some of the gods marveled at how the Heavens had turned into pure gold and some swore they had seen the actual glittering of the golden marital thread that joined Crown Prince Sun and the Royal Princess Wang Huan's hearts into one.
Even those that were not supportive of Royal Princess Wang Huan becoming Crown Prince Sun's wife was slowly persuaded by the Royal Princess' efforts in learning about the medicinal properties of food and gaining a great reputation as a miraculous healer.
But, perhaps, what was most extraordinary about Royal Princess Wang Huan laid in her nickname. All the gods knew that there was only one place to find Crown Prince Sun after the sun sets. Wherever Royal Princess Wang Huan was, there Crown Prince Sun will be.
And that was how the extraordinary Royal Princess Wang Huan became famously known as 'The Sun's Dark Love'.
And that was how the extraordinary Royal Princess Wang Huan became famously known as 'The Sun's Dark Love'.
Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission!