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“Back then, I decreed that you two would sever your bonds of love in the Yuanjia Cave, though I never wrote out the details. But I didn’t expect the Nine Spirits Sovereign Goddess to take matters into her own hands–and do so well.”
“You jumped off the Immortal Punishment Platform and destroyed your own celestial body, then gave all of your cultivation base to the Fang Hua Beast so he could reincarnate on another path.” The Immortal of Fates sighed with feeling as he looked at me. “If I had written the plot to this story, I wouldn’t have created something so soul-stirring.”
“You’re overpraising me.” I was very modest.
“Actually, there was no need to break off contact with your divine side,” the Immortal of Fates raised his tea and sipped it with his head down. “When I descended to the mortal realm that time, it wasn’t to take you into custody. The original plan was to return you the Heavens after you suffered for your crimes, but I didn’t expect such a fright.”
“Speaking to the end, I still have to thank you for giving me a bit of immortal qi that time. Otherwise, it might have taken tens of thousands of years to recover myself.”
“Your soul hadn’t finished dissolving by then. The immortal qi I gave you was like a stone in the sea. I was convinced that you were going to die,” the Immortal of Fates looked like he didn’t want to bring up the topic again, before giving me a genteel look. “In any case, it was I who carried over the Fang Hua Wood from Nüwa to you. I’ve always felt sorry about that, so at least this counts as paying you back.”
“Immortal of Fates is always clear with your calculations. But I wonder when you’ll return the armadillo and furballs you took from my house?”
“You’re erring on the side of stinginess. Isn’t saving your life worth a furball or few?”
“Now this sounds more like the Immortal of Fates I know.”
“How did you live these past years? No one in all of Heaven could grasp a sliver of your immortal qi. I really thought the Nine Spirits Sovereign Goddess didn’t exist in this world anymore.”
“I reincarnated into a few nameless wombs and attached my soul to them a few times. I don’t remember the rest of the details.” I’d lost about half of my cultivation base when I’d jumped from the Immortal Punishing Platform and used most of the rest to save Fang Hua. Finally there was only a little bit left curled up and asleep within my soul, which kept reincarnating on Earth. It was no wonder he couldn’t find me when I myself had no idea that I was a goddess.
“I discovered something extremely interesting when I came to deliver a body to you today. When you sent off the Fang Hua Beast to the cycle of reincarnation, did you ever wonder where he’d be now? Or what his name is?”
“If the Immortal of Fates is saying this, does this mean you know?” I raised the bowl of tea to warm my hands.
“That’s right,” he smiled.
I looked at him, somewhat surprised.
“The Fang Hua Beast reincarnated as a human child in the southern territories, just like you in your latest life. He’s on Earth right now, and by my calculations, he’s probably that…”
“My lord, you can’t go in.” A clamor rose from outside the doors before they suddenly swung open, sending in a gust of wind. Yu Hua entered wearing snow-white robes, leading along Yu Muqing. Their robes floated in the air with a standalone elegance. As my eyes shifted up, I saw that he was wearing a Fang Hua wood hairpin in his long black hair.
Dead silence fell upon us.
Yu Muqing the furball shyly threw himself on my knees before glancing back at his father. Then, with a very reserved voice, he called me mother. I’d never been a fan of furballs, but couldn’t help widening my eyes at the sign of his fine and furry ears. I touched them, finding them quite soft as they twitched in my hands, before tightening my fingers.
The Immortal of Fates was on this fox-eared Yu Muqing, who was acting like a spoiled child in my lap. “Look at those slender eyes, they’re just like yours. But all his looks, especially his ears, are a hundred times cuter than you.” Praising my son was like praising me. Even if that wasn’t his intention, I still felt fine with it.
“What I just mentioned to you back then,” the Immortal of Fates said, looking at our family of three with a deep sigh, “You can just pretend I said nothing at all.”
“You don’t need to say anything. I’ve known for a while already.”
The Immortal of Fates raised his brows slightly at Yu Hua to laugh before stretching his neck towards me. “Then you should know that the Jade Emperor’s long restored your title and standing? They’re not going to investigate the case of the Fang Hua Beast, so when will you go back with me?” When he mentioned Fang Hua Beast these three words, he intentionally raised his voice.
The High Immortal Zhao of Omens spoke up in support. “This humble immortal shall escort auntie back to the Heavens.”
I looked towards Yu Hua’s dark eyebrows and the faint hint of sorrow on his face. Though his manner was calm and dignified, it didn’t seem he could hold on for much longer. Before he opened his mouth to speak, I replied respectfully to High Immortal Zhao.
“Who says I’m going? The population is thin in the southern territories, making it the perfect place for me to offer my humble efforts. At this moment, growing branches and scattering leaves is more important.”
Little Yu Muqing tightly clutched my robes, rubbing his hand against my palm. My expression was solemn as I spoke. “As far as I can see, no one else’s blood is as pure or potent as mine. The responsibility of saving the southern territories is a duty I cannot shirk without dishonor.”
Yu Hua’s lips seemed to be quirking up into a smile.
“But the Jade Emperor…” High Immortal Zhao of Omens carried misgivings on his face.
“Don’t worry, the Jade Emperor won’t do anything to her. All these years he’s been keeping one eye open with the other closed, so he won’t bother her for something like this,” the Immortal of Fates observed the tender looks between Yu Hua and I before he felt incomparably sour.
“The old Jade Emperor’s seen enough chaos these recent years, it’s about time he gave me peace and quiet. Heaven is a good place, but it doesn’t know warm and cold like the mortal realms. A goddess is just a title, so let it hang where it will. It makes no difference to me either way.”
“You’re still holding a grudge from that time with the rotten millet,” the Immortal of Fates said as he drank his last mouthful of tea.
“Yes. If the Jade Emperor had let me take charge back then, then Heaven and Earth would’ve been very different,” I said in rapt attention.
“Then Heaven would be doomed,” the Immortal of Fates brushed dirt off his robes, slowly rising to his feet. “Since you don’t want to return to the Heavenly Court, I’ll go back to report my mission as finished.”
I smiled. “I’ll send you off.”
The Immortal of Fates looked at me, then at Yu Hua, wearing a significant smile. I’d asked him if the Fang Hua Beast who reincarnated as a human would ever recover his memories like I did. He said no. In the middle of sighing, I’d felt a sense of relief and lingering sorrow.
The Immortal of Fates had only looked at me and said, since you’ve decided on this, then you should live every day happily. Don’t nitpick about the rest.
I thought his reasoning was very sound.
 Yu Hua (玉华) – the male protagonist of the author’s other novel, 《Who Was the Secret Substitute for Those Fleeting Years?》Yu means jade, Hua means splendid, magnificent. The human reincarnation of Fang Hua after Shao’er freed his soul.
 Yu Muqing (玉慕卿) – Yu Hua’s son, who usually takes on the appearance of a fox.
 growing branches and scattering leaves (开枝散叶) – kaizhi sanye, to grow and progress.
 The rest of the story talks about the fate of the characters in Who Was the Secret Substitute for Those Fleeting Years. A summary of the story follows below (click on the arrow to see):
Now that you’ve finished the novel, why not take a peek at a hypothetical drama adaptationof FDFH? It was created as part of a 2018 April Fools joke and even includes a fake trailer made by your very own translator. 😉
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