“…I know this is sudden, but…I can settle for…”
Snippets of conversation could be heard from somewhere up ahead. The servant leading the way slowed down, seeming unsure whether to continue onward or to stop.
In the palace, there were some things not meant for the ears of others.
Shi Sheng didn’t stop, so the servant could only forge onwards.
As they got closer, the voices became clearer.
“Your Highness, why must you be so fixated on me?”
“…We’ve known each other since childhood… Cang Lan-gege, I thought you understood me. But…you married An Yue Yao.” The sound of a woman’s soft sobs could be heard.
When two people’s red strings had been tied together, it was hard to resist falling for each other. Although Cang Lan fought it somewhat, he ultimately couldn’t win against the power of the red strings.
“Princess, don’t cry… I’ve let you down.”
“Cang Lan-gege, please marry me! I don’t care about my status! As long as you marry me, even as a concubine, I’m willing.”
Shi Sheng’s footsteps halted as she listened to the conversation. The servant who was acting as her guide was forced to stop alongside her, with no choice but to play deaf.
The person currently confessing to Cang Lan was the youngest princess of Chen, the Ninth Princess. Her ending was one of the more tragic ones too.
In the original script, Yue Yao plotted for Ninth Princess to get married off to Chuyang in order to keep her and Cang Lan apart.
When the war broke out, her life became a living nightmare.
Ninth Princess sobbed as she recounted the memories from their childhood before confessing to him emotionally. Cang Lan struggled for a while, but eventually still agreed.
Shi Sheng felt as if she’d entered the wrong story or something. ‘Why does it feel like it’s turning into a harem novel?’
“What are you guys doing?!” Yue Yao’s shout suddenly rang out. It was soon followed by the crisp sound of a slap and the Ninth Princess’ startled cry.
“An Yue Yao!” Cang Lan snapped. ‘She even dares to hit princesses now?!’
Yue Yao had come to her senses after slapping the Ninth Princess, but she hadn’t been able to control herself when she saw them hugging each other.
This matter was soon brought to the Chen Emperor’s attention.
If Qing Guan was the most beloved princess of Nanjin, then this Ninth Princess was the most beloved princess of Chen.
It was impossible for the Chen Emperor to desist in the matter when it was his daughter who’d been wronged. He immediately summoned all those involved to the throne room.
As an outsider, Shi Sheng naturally couldn’t go and watch the show.
But from what she heard, Yue Yao was given several strokes of the punishment rod. The Chen Emperor had also promised Ninth Princess to Cang Lan in marriage. Although he didn’t strip away An Yue Yao’s position of first wife, he made sure that Ninth Princess was of equal status.
The day Shi Sheng left Chang’An was the day of Ninth Princess’ marriage.
The fires of war soon broke out between the three kingdoms. Shi Sheng led troops into battle.
She met Cang Lan on the battlefield at one point, but she didn’t have time to exchange blows with him before he disappeared. She never saw him on the battlefield again.
She only found out once she’d led her troops into Chang’An that Cang Lan had died of the plague. He’d failed his tribulation.
Shi Sheng led the forces of Nanjin to conquer the world using a mere three years.
On the day that the Nanjin Emperor ascended the throne, an auspicious golden light descended upon his palace.
The next day, Princess Qing Guan passed, and her maidservant Bi Xi was buried with her.
The deepest impression that Princess Qing Guan had left in the hearts of many could be summed up with…
“Hard to get along with.”
But none could deny the fact that she had the right to be that way. Background, looks, talent, cunning…she didn’t lack any of these.
The passing of such a princess in her prime caused many to sigh in regret.
Shi Sheng returned to the Heavenly Realm with many merits.
Qing Guan was a second generation immortal. Her parents were both Ancient Highgods, but they had already died many years ago. She lived in Verdant Palace all by herself.
The day she returned to the Heavenly Realm, plenty of visitors came by to congratulate her.
She was the fourth Highgod in the Heavenly Realm—something definitely worthy of celebration. It was only natural that there’d be many people running over to her place with the hope they might get lucky and earn her favour.
The Jade Emperor’s edict also arrived soon after. It first congratulated her for being promoted to Highgod before informing her that a celebration banquet had been arranged for her in three days time.
It was a formality of the Heavenly Realm that Shi Sheng couldn’t extricate herself from no matter how much of a pain she felt it was.
In the end, she got too lazy to even bother dealing with visitors, and simply closed off Verdant Palace.
Since their presence was so clearly unwelcome, they had no choice but to reluctantly leave. After all, she was a Highgod now! They couldn’t afford to offend her!
Three days later, Shi Sheng arrived at the celebration venue on the dot.
Qing Guan hadn’t left Verdant Palace that much—a result of spending most of her time in closed cultivation. Hence, most inhabitants of the Heavenly Realm had only heard of her, while the number that had actually seen her could be counted on both hands.
Shi Sheng wasn’t wearing the normal white robes that immortals favoured to highlight their sage-like appearance, but instead a dark green dress.
Her entry was like a drop of ink splashing onto a blank piece of paper—very eye-catching. She could hear the low voices of discussion amongst the gathered immortals even before she approached them.
“That’s Highlord Qing Guan? She’s so beautiful! And to think I used to believe the rumours that the reason she never left Verdant Palace was because she was ugly!”
“Highlord? She’s a Highgod now! That makes her of the same standing as the Jade Emperor!” Someone nearby immediately corrected.
“Highgod Qing Guan’s mother was once the number one beauty of the Heavenly Realm, and her father was a handsome genius! How could she be ugly?”
“Well, there were rumours… After all, Highgod Qing Guan never set foot outside Verdant Palace, so who could’ve known what she looked like?”
“I heard Highgod Qing Guan is only 30,000 years old! She has to be the youngest of the Highgods, right? The reason she stayed in Verdant Palace was clearly to cultivate! She’s completely unlike you guys who run around all over the place and enjoy life. It’d be a miracle if you guys even became a Celestial Lord!”
“As if you’ve ever cultivated seriously!”
“Highgod Qing Guan is still single, right? If anyone manages to become her partner…”
The man didn’t finish his sentence, allowing the imaginations of his audience to do the work for him. However, he didn’t get a reply. All he got was a bunch of strange looks directed at him. Some members of the crowd tried to wordlessly communicate with him with their eyes.
“What? What’s there to be ashamed about? Although Highgod Qing Guan is pretty formidable, she’s beautiful too! It’d be something worth bragging abou—”
The person to his side pinched him, causing him to let out a startled yelp of pain.
“Your looks aren’t good enough for me to take a liking to.”
He heard a melodious female voice from behind him speak in an insipid tone.
The moment he turned around, he found that the topic of his discussion had at some point, turned up a few steps behind him and was currently eyeing him calmly.
The hem of her dark green dress was partly hidden by the swirling clouds at her feet. If one looked closely, they’d find that there were strange patterns sewn into the dress. When she moved, these patterns gleamed with golden light that made them seem alive.
“Highgod Qing Guan…” He exclaimed in surprise before quickly lowering his head and speaking in a panicked voice, “I have offended you Highgod! Please forgive me, Highgod!”
“Everyone appreciates beauty; you haven’t committed any offence,” Shi Sheng immediately began showing off, “However, it is true that with your looks, you’re not worthy of me. So don’t fantasise.”
That person was sweating in his boots (figuratively). ‘Why did no one tell me this Highgod was such a narcissist?’
Everyone else’s lips twitched too. ‘It turns out this Highgod’s style was like this…’
That person’s bow deepened even further as he spoke in pure sincerity, “It is as Highgod says.”
Shi Sheng shifted her gaze from him to look straight ahead of her.
The Jade Emperor, with his golden dragon robe, and the Queen Mother sat beside him on the highest level.
Shi Sheng saw Cang Lan, who was seated on the Jade Emperor’s right, with a single glance. He was wearing a spotless white robe that lent him an ethereal air. He was the very image of a forbidden male idol.
Shi Sheng’s lips pulled into a smile.