Thinking back to the first time I met Heng Wen, I had thought this Qingjun was even more pretentious than Tian Shu Xingjun.
Of course, Heng Wen Qingjun’s standing was indeed higher by a bit compared to Tian Shu Xingjun.
Back then I had just finished paying Tian Shu Xingjun a visit, in which I got a cold nod in return. The messenger had guided me all the way, telling me we will visit the Lord of Clarity Heng Wen. This Qingjun handles influential works of literature and his standing was equivalent to a number of Emperor Lords(Dijun). I sincerely listened and kept it in mind. When we got to Heng Wen Qingjun’s Wei Yuan palace, we only saw a crowd of immortals surrounding a figure and heading into some other direction.
The messenger deity said, “That’s too bad for you. I’m afraid Heng Wen Qingjun is stepping out for a matter.” His finger pointed at the distant crowd of immortals escorting a few figures. Flanking the left and right sides were two civil and martial Kuixing, the three figures following behind the central figure were Zhang’an Wenjun, and immortals Wen Chang and Wen Ming. The one being surrounded by them is Heng Wen Qingjun. I stretched my neck as far as I could, but I only caught the sight of a figure clad in light purple approaching then pulling away quickly. Delicate and elegant, the sight of his back actually resembled that of Tian Shu Xingjun’s. But I had still met Tian Shu face-to-face, as opposed to this Heng Wen Qingjun whose face I didn’t even get to see.
What’s there for me to do but to leave a visiting card with my name to the little attendant of the Wei Yuan palace and continue my visitations to the rest of the immortals.
Many days later I was nearly finished visiting the numerous immortals of the heavens. Each day I would wander here and there and familiarised myself with the way, until the day I reached the lotus pond not too far from the Queen Mother’s peach garden. The lotuses of heaven bloomed all year round, the flowers shoot up straight above the water. Clouds drifted by the pond’s edges, lotus fragrance wafted, inviting one to walk along the edge one step at a time and gingerly savour it.
I walked until I arrived at the end of the clouds, catching sight of paper spread out flat on a big rock. Someone was crouched on top of it, one knee down in the middle of a painting. I assumed he was painting the lotus of this pond.
I stepped closer and called out, ‘pardon me’. That person’s head whipped up, he yelped in surprise, the brush in his hand flicked off.
A bit of the ink splattered on my robes. He quickly stood up and cupped his hands, smiling at me, “I wasn’t careful, sorry, sorry.”
I was stunned, not by the splashes of ink on my clothes, but rather by the person’s handsome grace which resembled a lotus.
Later on, Heng Wen asked me, “When you met me at that time, did you compare me to Tian Shu?”
I answered honestly, “I did, Heng Wen Qingjun himself clearly knows no one in heaven can compare to your looks, why bother asking?” And Heng Wen looked gratified as he laughed.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Ca atja alwf, tf ralii ibbxfv j yla ilxf j affcjufg. Llr tjlg kjr ibbrf, alfv bcis ja atf fcv klat j raglq bo mibat. Lf kbgf j oijzfc gbyf klat tlr meoor gbiifv eq jcv tjv bcf tjcv tbivlcu eq tlr riffnfr. P tjv regwlrfv atja tf kjr rbwf ibgv’r ilaaif tfiqfg atja tfiv atf rjwf rajaer jr wf, jcv j ofiibk ibbrf lwwbgaji.
His face was truly remorseful as he apologised. I quickly replied, “It was my fault to begin with, I’ve kept you from your painting.” I shook out my robes then spoke again with a smile, “In the human world, it’s often said, ‘stained with ink, three days deep in the arts’. Let alone getting immortal ink stain, I could now be considered an expert of the arts.”
His eyes brightened, “Oh? Do humans actually have such a saying? I haven’t seen you before, are you newly ascended from the human world?”
I told him, “I am.”
He smiled as he rose up, “Wonderful, I was born in heaven and had never been down to the earth. Please do share your stories of the mortal world with me in the future.”
During those few days I had visited my fellow gods, but I only spoke of empty words and pleasantries. The words of this immortal who I thought was a small helper felt very sincere, so I said, “Naturally, but I’m wordy and can go on and on. Don’t be annoyed when you’ve listened too long.”
His smile widened. I looked at the painting splayed on the rock, the strokes were few but you can already make out an outline of a lotus, showing off the elegance of the flower. I sincerely praised, “A fine painting.”
He seemed very pleased to hear it, “If you like this painting, how about I gift it to you once it’s finished? Consider it my apology for the robes.”
“A gift I could never hope for, you honour me.” Seeing that he’d crouched down and spread the ink while holding his sleeves up to continue painting, I followed with, “I am afraid of disturbing your painting by staying. I shall take my leave.”
As I turned, I heard him call out, ‘please wait’. I looked back, and he had turned his head to face me, “What’s your name?”
I said, “This one is Song Yao; Song like ‘Seven Warring States’ minor state’s, Yao made of ‘Wang’ and ‘Zhao’.”1
I left after stating my name. Unexpectedly, he turned up in the garden of the courtyard Jade Emperor bestowed upon me the following night, “Song Yao.” He greeted me with a smile.
He saw my stunned expression and took out a scroll from his sleeves. “As the painting had been mounted, I came to deliver it to you. All of heaven would have noticed if I entered through the front door, it’s too inconvenient, so I came straight into the backyard.”
He seemed unperturbed by the fact that he got in by climbing through my walls. I received the scroll and thought of the two bottles of fine wine Jade Emperor gifted me. I had just worried over the fact that there would be no one to drink it with, now that he’s here, I invited him to stay and have a drink with me. He nodded without any objections, and I arranged two plates of immortal fruits for snacks on a stone table in my garden. We drank with each other in the dark of the night.
I emotionally sighed, “If this was the human world, you could look up to the bright moon as you ate and drank. The light shining down on a person turning one shadow into two, quite a sophisticated picture. Now, if I want to see the moon, I’d have to run up to the Guang Han palace’s gate, and even then I’m afraid routinely running over will make every immortal see it as me harassing Lady Chang’e.”
He asked, “What does the moon look like down on earth?”
I gestured with my hands, “Waxing at the start of the month and waning near the end. There are only two days in the middle of every month where it would be a full circle. The fifteenth day of the eighth month each year is when the moon is at its roundest, so the day is called the mid-autumn festival down in the human world, we also call it mid-fall. But even at its roundest, it’ll only look as big as this plate. In the mid-autumn festival, everyone has wine under the osmanthus trees and enjoys the moonlight…”
We drank, cup after cup, and spoke bit by bit. Him, engrossed in listening and me, extremely keen to tell more. Eventually, we had a few too many drinks. Since the garden had a stone bench we simply crawled up and laid there. The next day, we woke up to a blindingly bright day, Mao Ri Xingjun should’ve been on duty at the eastern celestial gate for at least an hour. I crawled up with eyes still drowsy from sleep. His clothes were dishevelled and he smiled at me, “Yesterday we had a really good time drinking.”
I hadn’t become familiar to seeing him yet, so it took me some time before I could answer him with a laugh, “For sure, for sure. That was the first time I drank so contentedly ever since I arrived in heaven.”
He straightened his clothes, “However, I have to take my leave. I didn’t return to the residence last night, they might be searching everywhere.”
Only then did I recall something, “Right, I completely forgot to ask what your name was.” He said ‘return to the residence’, just which high lord is he under?
He had said, “Oh, yes. You haven’t asked and I actually forgot to say it. I was born in heaven, so I don’t have a name-surname. I only have the title I was born with.”
“My formal title is Heng Wen Qingjun. You can just call me Heng Wen.”
I had stood at the side of that stone bench, having lost my wits.
The dim sky had already turned bright, I flipped over to lay on my back. Ai, to think that back in those days, his height which had been slightly shorter than *mine and the pure youthful air about him were all because Heng Wen Qingjun’s skills as an immortal were still green. When you compare the Heng Wen Qingjun back then to the one who had lived through several thousands of years more and now was slumbering in the side room… Time sure does bring a lot of changes ah.
*My body leaned over to examine the sleeping face on the pillow. Tian Shu Xingjun hasn’t changed in these thousands of years. Even after he had become Mu Ruoyan who was prone to falling ill, for *me, these delicate eyes calmly closed in his sleep was still of that Tian Shu from before.
As *I continued to look at him closely, *my head started to ache.
I think Nan Ming Dijun should arrive the day after tomorrow. Tian Shu ah, your dearest is going to be here soon.
I never got an inkling of the two’s affair in heaven. The two high lords always had a dignified expression when they meet at their palaces. I hardened my face into a cold expression, but in truth, the deepest part of my heart was tossed about by the surging undercurrent. So much hardship, so much pain.
I gazed at Tian Shu’s sleeping face and smiled merrily as I tucked the blanket around him again.
What would it be like when Tian Shu and Nan Ming see one another in the manor’s garden right before *my eyes?
Author’s note: I updated at midnight so sure enough my brain’s not awake, aaah~~ mid-fall becomes mid-july, it’s one month off. I’m illiterate, look down on me aah~~ dash off—
 Song Yao was explaining how to write his name, his is the same Song that was a minor state in the Seven Warring States era (齐楚燕赵韩魏宋的宋, the others before it are the major warring states)
while Yao is written with the strokes of King and Zhao (王兆珧), its homonym 赵 Zhao is Zhao Heng’s surname. A later 宋 Song Dynasty’s emperor also has the surname of 赵 Zhao. ↑
Padam: I changed a few things in Chapter 1~3 and 14, there were some missing parts and some edited by Helli and Kaizer. Turns out, Shengling was actually Chengling…
Picture sources: lotus pond; lone lotus.