It was a common thing for the army to start looting, killing and raping extravagantly after winning a war, but Jin did not allow such thing. In contrast, he would actually help the people in the cities, giving medical aid or extra food the army didn’t need. He would make sure killing rebels was to a minimum, and only if it was necessary. Ever since he had cultivated to Peak Xian Profound realm in just two years, none of his subordinates would ever dream of retaliating against him, as his power could crush a dozen of Nascent realm practitioners which consisted the bulk of the imperial army.
Jin’s cultivation level was even higher than the commanding General. The latter was a lazy but efficient General for many years, and when he knew of Jin and Zixin’s skills, he gave full control of the army to them, preferring to nestle in the big bosoms of women in brothels and drinking to a stupor. Indeed, many government and military officials were stupid. Although I always worried about Jin and Zixin in my heart, I knew that they had done the country a great service, and my disciples thought of Jin and Zixin as heroes they wanted to follow.
It was a snowy day and I was wondering when Jin would come to visit me. I had not seen him in many months, and I missed his warm gaze. In these two years, I had only seen him thrice, and my heart was aching. I wanted to visit him, but I didn’t think it was proper for a lady to insert herself in the army of smelly men (Jin and Zixin excluded, because I was biased).
A year from now, Jin would turn eighteen. He had told me he would be marrying me in the spring of next year, and I was excited by the prospect. Although I had not heard him say he loved me, I had not told him I loved him either…but…wasn’t it so terribly obvious already? Did one need to say such words?
I sighed, and I let the snowflakes land on the palm of my hand.
“Master,” Seiran purred while burrowing himself in the folds of my dress. “It’s cold. Won’t you go inside the Moonlight Sect building? Your disciples are waiting for you there.”
I plodded through the snow. I saw my little disciples race towards me with their little feet as they carried warm towels and tea.
“Sect Master! Be careful of your health!” Their concern warmed my heart.
I warmed my hands with the towel they gave me as Seiran climbed up my shoulder. The potatoes covered him with towels as well, and he purred in satisfaction.
“Sect Master! Teach us the Flying Dragon skill!”
“Sect Master! Teach me the [The Jade Emperor’s Niece Who Was Actually A Thief] skill!”
Wait…what?! Had I accidentally taken that stupidly named skill out unknowingly?!
“Sect Master! Watch me do a skill you taught me!”
“Sect Master! Watch me! Watch me!” Little potatoes were hopping in the snow.
“No, watch me!”
“Me, me, me!”
They pushed against themselves to be the first one near me, until it erupted into a fist fight.
My little disciples were so noisy, I was getting a headache just by looking at them. Seiran wanted to squirm out of my embrace to command the fist fight, but I determinedly pressed his white self further into my arms.
“Sorry, Sect Master Goddess,” Dewei apologized on behalf of his little brothers and sisters. I had given him the task of looking after the little disciples as their Head Brother, and since he liked children, he was doing quite well as the leader of little potatoes.
These two years, my disciples had grown so much in number, I didn’t even bother counting. All I knew was that many of the new recruits came from the far cities, and wanted to join after learning of the sect’s glory during the Flying Lotus competition. I was glad the sect was spreading out into different areas, and ever since Jin and Zixin entered the imperial army, the noble’s views on commoners changed.
Previously, only the well established clans’ disciples were able to be part of the imperial army, so as to curry favor with the Emperor. Since most people knew that being in the army would entail possible death, the clans sent out their lowest ranked sons or disciples to take part, in order to keep the important ones safe.
But ever since Jin had also taught these subordinate of his a few tricks to cultivation, the whole army changed under his jurisdiction and they vowed to follow him for the rest of their lives. The nobles who were also thought of as trash to their families eagerly learned from Jin, who was said to be a trash commoner himself. Such a bond was formed between them, and it was a great beginning to a friendship I hoped extended to other families.
If one could see the changes from the outside, it was evident that the commoners now held a great deal of power over the nobles. Ever since the competition, the nobles were aware of this fact, but chose to turn a blind eye to it, to preserve their dignity. However, they could not bully these commoners anymore. If they did, not just one, but a whole batch of Moonlight Sect disciples would come crashing down their door with vengeance.
The nobles did not dare make fun of the commoners again, and it was quite peaceful in the city as people from different levels of hierarchy conversed with each other without prejudice. You could even say that in the city, even a common tailor was in the middle stages of Nascent realm. One could not tell how powerful the commoners actually were, and the only way to avoid damage was to act vigilant and not offend.
Of course, there were also some disciples of mine who thought they were better than the nobles and would start seeking disputes. I had aggressively scolded a group of troublemakers, and punished them before they could burn a noble’s house down. I tried to terminate them from being my disciples.
They cried pitifully with tears streaming down every orifice on their face as they latched on to my ankles, rendering me immobile. That was then I made a decree to never cause harm to other people, the nobles notwithstanding. Vengeance would be given when it was due, but to purposely act out without reason was seeking death. I gave my foolish disciples a solid beating on the butt, and although their exposed behinds were glaring red, they had stupid grins on their faces when I said I would still give them another chance. After the beating, they continued to cling to my ankles with gratitude, and I tried walking away…dragging all of them on the ground.
I was living quite a fulfilling life, if I had to say so myself. After establishing my sect, my days of living lazily were gone, replaced by intense labor on my part. It was the first time I had used up almost all of my knowledge to achieve this sort of position, and I felt proud of everything I had accomplished so far.
As I watched my disciples spar against each other in the training hall, a cold breeze accompanied by snowflakes suddenly blew across the room as the door was hurriedly opened. It was Zixin, and he looked terrible. My disciples stopped sparring to look at him curiously.
“Sect Master!” He was pale, and his lips were turning blue from the cold. “I come with grave news! Jin…Jin is to be executed today for treason!”
“TREASON!?” Everyone was flabbergasted as they shouted that one word.
I stood there, unmoving, as my brain tried to digest the words he spoke. It was as if my brain stopped working when the word ‘treason’ entered, and for the life of me, I could not even make out a reason as to why Jin would even do such a thing. I couldn’t believe it one bit.
“Why?” My voice was barely audible, but Zixin detected it.
“We must hurry!” Zixin pulled me along hurriedly while Seiran discreetly entered my soul space. Zixin explained, “It was a crime of lese-majeste. Taren asked for your hand in marriage, and Jin opposed it, saying he would be the one to wed you. A heated argument commenced…the palace was in an uproar! The Emperor was enraged, as his will was opposed by a mere commoner. You know how selfish the Emperor is, and how he would give anything to his beloved son, even if it meant killing his very own outstanding lieutenant of the imperial army!” His words were rushed as he took my arm with his hand, almost causing me to stagger into the snow.
“We must hurry,” Zixin’s voice was apologetic, “I came here as fast as I could after the Emperor’s mandate, and the execution will take place in front of the palace!”
I felt numb. My brain was too slow to comprehend anything, as if the world itself was running too fast for me to catch up. First of all, Taren asked for my hand in marriage? What?! Was he crazy? He was! And as for Jin, of course he would oppose such a thing! But for him to be executed because of that, and be stamped with treason, how could the Emperor be such an incorrigible bigot?
“Juju!” A person called out from afar as he quickly trudged along the snow to my side, his blonde hair full of snowflakes. “I’m sorry. I’ll rectify this. I’m sorry. I didn’t know Jin loved you in that way!” His voice hurriedly spoke out apologies, but I was feeling numb.
“Juju, I can’t change my father’s mind anymore. I tried. I really did. I’m sorry.” He looked pained as well, but I wondered if it was all an act. I would not marry anyone else in any lifetime but Jin.
“Juju–” before his hands could caress my face, my fist already met his nose and a crunch was heard in the middle of the snowy outdoors.
“…” Zixin was speechless. So was I. I swear that my fist acted on its own! I was still numb!
“Ah…” I looked at the blood smeared on my fist and the disbelief on Taren’s face as he gingerly touched his blood soaked nose.
“Well, this rectifies it somewhat doesn’t it.” I casually wiped my fist on Zixin’s coat, and I smiled at Taren sheepishly. “Although a broken nose cannot be compared to one’s life.”
My mind cleared up from its fog as I said, “I will go ahead and save him.” I gave Taren a long and cold glance. “After that, I will never see you again.”
Taren looked conflicted, but he did not say a word to refute my statement. He looked like he accepted it, and his head hung low in grief.
Zixin hugged his fist and bowed to me, “Sect Master, I shall pray for your success! We of the Moonlight Sect will forever be with you!”
I smiled at him affectionately, and without even a second glance at Taren, I flew in the air towards the imperial palace. The snow stopped falling, as if the Heavens knew of my ordeal, and I was glad that I was able to see better now. If I was not in such emotional pain, I would say that the mountains and cities blanketed in snow was a beautiful sight to behold. But I was not sightseeing at this moment. I was trying to save a life. What happens after I would save him never crossed my mind, as I tried hurriedly to approach the executioner’s platform.
As I floated towards the area in front of the palace, I saw that the royal family had positioned themselves on a dais directly in front of the platform in order to get the best view. Many of the citizens were shouting and hurling expletives at the Emperor, but the latter did not seem to care for once. The Imperial guards held the citizens back against the platform and dais so they would be unable to disrupt the proceedings.
Jin was kneeling silently on the platform, with handcuffs that sealed his cultivation levels, making him but a first stage Nascent realm practitioner. He exuded a calm and domineering aura that made people wonder about the truth of the allegations against him, and his eyes held a certain resolution as if they said, “I would rather die than have Juju marry another!”
Was his brain addled?! If he were to die right now, then it would obviously make the other man more capable of taking me as his wife! Was he stupid? He was definitely stupid! I was indeed right, he failed as a love tactician!
A bright light suddenly blinded me for a second, and I saw that it was a tip of a flat blade that caught the sun’s rays as it was raised in the air.
I had no time to think as I flew over to the stage, and also no time to realize what had transpired until I felt an excruciating pain I had never felt before in my chest. This was definitely not one of heartbreak.
I didn’t even glance at the executioner who had stumbled backwards in shock, nor look at the crowd who all gasped in indignation. The only thing that my eyes took up was the ash-like face of my potato who had grown a bit of a stubble.
He caught me with trembling hands, the metal cuffs clanking noisily. “You…why did you…” He choked on words, and I replied by vomiting blood against his chest.
“You’ll be alright, it’s alright.” He was trembling so badly as he chanted words that seemed more likely to comfort himself than me.
The crowd was pushing now against the Imperial guards, and I could hear many of them scream, “Sect Master! Sect Master!”
“Please don’t die!”
I smiled stiffly as blood trickled down my mouth. I could already see the soul collectors waiting for me to finish before escorting me back to the netherworld, so I hastily pressed my lips against the side of his mouth.
“This will have to do…” Until we were married, I wanted to add, but the effort of trying to say those few words already drained me. As I looked down, I saw that the sword that had struck my chest was peeking through the front of my blouse. I smiled grimly.
“I’ll…I’ll take the sword out!” Jin suddenly said, as his lips turned white. Snowflakes started to fall once again, and the little flakes started falling on his hair and face, but he did not even blink, as his eyes seemed like they wanted to watch me forever. It seemed he thought I would disappear if he closed his eyes for even a second.
“Stupid,” I mouthed those words.
I could feel the soul collectors were beginning to be impatient, and I knew it was time to go.
“Don’t leave me, Juju. Don’t leave…” His eyes filled up, the tears threatening to fall.
“I’ll see you soon,” I whispered one last time before leaving my whole body in his embrace.
When I was on the road back to the Netherworld, I turned around to catch a last glimpse of him, and my heart caught in my throat. Jin was clutching my corpse with his face against my neck, sobbing with a heartbreaking expression.
My blood soaked corpse was a brilliant contrast against the snow, as multiple citizens climbed their way over the Imperial guards and onto the platform to form a protective stance around Jin and I. After that scene, I could not see anything else but white.
- The Bishie's Queen
First and foremost, I am a neko who loves to write. I'm a cat lady~ and also a medical student in the throes of insanity lol. I'll probably only write one story on here before I completely vanish into thin air, so all I can say is:
Thank you very much for reading! *bows*