flaming lotus

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Here is my new tattoo! Over the Garden Wall - art directly from ena-kim who gave me permission to use this image. Thank you so much! Its everything I wanted as this mini series is the hallmark of childhood nostalgia for someone like me who grew up on such old fashioned fairy tales. Tattoo by Steve Zaza of Flaming Lotus Tattoo in Sayville NY

Shattered Light

HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY BAE! This is dedicated to the amazing hannah-nobody, cus I just couldn’t help but show her this as soon as it was done and ruin the surprise. Have some angst, dedicated the queen amazing writer of angst!!

The words swirled through Natsu’s head, but denial surged in his blood. No he wasn’t going to lose. He could defeat him, he could protect Lucy. It couldn’t end like this, it just couldn’t.

Natsu accepted his fate however, when he heard the air start to be cut by the descent of the sword.

He had lost.

Pairing: Nalu, Fairy Tail

Words: 3794

Rating: 18+ for language

Part: One Shot

A wave of magic struck Natsu in the gut and sent him flying backwards. Pain screamed across his back as he crashed through several trees before hitting the large rock outcrop, his vision growing fuzzy along the edges as his head was thrown back against the jagged wall behind him. Crumpling to the ground, Natsu managed to get himself onto all fours, but his vision kept coming and going. He had to stand up. He had to keep fighting. Fighting for his guild, his family. Fighting for Magnolia and Fiore. For the world. Fighting for…

“Natsu!”

Lucy. He had to keep fighting because Lucy was here. She was in danger. Fuck, they all were. He had sent Happy to tell the others that he was fighting Neinhart, but Lucy had refused to leave. Refused to leave him. She did that a lot. Natsu shook his head, trying to clear his mind. He had to fight this bastard. Fear gripped his heart as Lucy called his name again and fell to her knees beside him, one of her frail hands on his back. Neinhart was just toying with them, Natsu knew it. He had sent the dragon slayer flying with just a flick of his wrist, and was now walking towards with leisurely, laughing as he stepped around the destroyed trees that Natsu had crashed through.

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Ice Fantasy Chapter 2 – The First Killing In My Life

It’s already winter and the Empire of Snow has its first snow fall. The winter in Empire of Snow would last a decade. And it would snow everyday during this decade-long winter. I looked up at the sky filled with falling snow, and the sight made me thought of the snow fog forest. Snow fog forest was a place that would never snow; the weather in snow fog forest would always be like end spring and early summer. The sunset was always like a warm glow shining throughout the whole forest.

The chirping of the birds snapped me out from my trance; I turned around to see Ying Kong Shi standing under the cherry blossom tree. All the leaves and flowers had already fallen off from the tree, leaving the sharp withered twigs piercing the pale blue sky, and the sight made Shi looked even lonelier. He was staring at me smilingly; his hair has grown so long till they had touched the ground while the length of my hair was only at my ankle. The length of the hair measured the spiritual power of the Ice Tribe illusionists. This would mean Shi possessed better capability of using his illusion skill. Since young, he has been a highly talented child.

Shi looked at me with a bright and innocent smile and said. “Ge, it’s snowing. This is the first snowfall of the winter.” Snowflakes were all over his hair, his shoulders and his young and handsome face. But for me, there wasn’t one on me. “Shi, why don’t you use your magical shield to block off the snowflake?” I asked him, holding my hand up over his head to activate the magical shield. He raised his left hand, curling his ring finger up and withdrew my magical shield over him, facing me. “Ge, why do you dislike having snowflakes on you so much?” He looked at me and I could see the hidden sadness in his smile. Then he turned away to leave, watching his back and my heart couldn’t help but to feel sad. This is the strongest illusionist with the longest hair of the Empire of Snow. This is the only person who would not use his magic shield to block the snow. He is my one and only brother, whom I doted the most – Ying Kong Shi.

During these 30 years of exile in the mortal world, I have not learnt any illusion magic. I could only turn water into animal ice sculptures and sold them to make a living. And we could never stay at one place for too long, we have to run from the pursuit of the Fire Tribe. There was once, a man took all my ice sculptures away without paying, and Shi stood in front of that man to block him from leaving. He bit his lip and stared at the man without uttering a word. The man pushed Shi to the ground. So I went to pick up a bowl of wine, walked to his front and handed the bowl to that man. The man smiled grimly at me and said. “Little rascal, are you trying to poison me with the wine?” Upon hearing what he said, I took a sip of the wine, and told the man. “So you are afraid of death.” That man got pissed by my words and took the bowl from me, emptying the content in it and said. “I’m not afraid of you fucking little bastard!” Then he died. Right before he died with his eyes staring at me widely, I told him. “You’re wrong. I’m not a bastard. I have the purest blood.”

I merely turned the wine into ice in a shape of a trident and pierced through his chest.

That was my first time killing someone. It was also my first time to find the blood of mortals was different from us. It wasn’t white in colour, but hot bright red. I suppressed the fear within me and when I turned to look at Shi, I couldn’t understand why was there a cruel and evil smile on his face. But that smile disappeared very quickly.

Just when the man fell to the ground, the sky started to snow again. I held Shi in my embrace, standing in the middle of a heavy snow. Shi looked up at me and said. “Ge, we’ll never be killed by others anymore. Right?”

“Yes, Shi. No one can kill you, I will protect you with my life because if I die, you will become the future king.” I said.

When I was 139 years old, I met Li Luo – the youngest and greatest sorceress of the Empire of Snow. At the age of 130, all royalties would become an adult so when I was holding the under-aged Ying Kong Shi, people would mistake me as his father. No one knew that we were the remaining princes of the Empire of Snow. I still remembered the time when Li Luo appeared; the snow on the ground got swept up into the air, blocking the sky and the sun. Everyone started to flee, while I continued carrying Shi and stood there because I didn’t feel any murderous aura from her. At the end of the snow, Li Luo was standing on a unicorn with snow falling around her. She got down from the unicorn and made her way towards me. Once she got to me, she knelt before me with both arms crossed. “My king, I am here to fetch you home.”

That winter was my last winter in the mortal world, the snow was like willow. Willow was my favourite plant during my stay in the mortal world because its flower was just like the snow in Ren City, the snow that lasted a decade.

Seven days later, when I stood at the bottom of Ren City with Shi and Li Luo, I burst into tears all of a sudden. The time when I left home, I was still a kid, but now I have become a tall and handsome prince just like my older brothers, the future king of the Snow Empire. The new wall around the city was more majestic than before, and I saw my father, mother and other sorcerers and astrologers standing on the wall, looking at me with a smile. I could hear them calling Shi’s name and me. Shi was hugging my neck and asked me. “Ge, are we back at home? The red people will not kill us anymore?” I kissed his eyes and said. “Shi, we are back home.”

As the city door opened slowly, I heard the cheers of the entire city. I held Li Luo’s hand and said. “I love you. Please be my princess.”

Many years later, I asked Li Luo. “Li Luo, seven days after I met you, I fall in love with you. What about you? When did you fall for me?” Li Luo knelt before me and looked up. “My king, when I came down from the unicorn and knelt before you, I have fallen for you.” Then she smiled at me, and numerous white cherry blossoms began to fall, covering her hair with pollen on her eyelashes. Li Luo’s hair wasn’t purely silvery white, but slightly bluish white. That’s because she wasn’t a pure blood, and she could only become the best sorceress but never be able to become an illusionist. But I don’t mind.

When I reached 200 years old, I spoke to my father. “Father, I want to marry Li Luo.” The moment I finished my words, no one in the palace made a sound. One month after that meeting, Snow City had its first unprecedented heavy snowfall and that was when Li Luo disappeared in that snow.

After that my mother told me everything in tears. My father would never allow a half-blood to be my wife. My wife could only be the mermaid from the sea palace.

I remembered when I charged into my father’s chamber; he was sitting high up in his ice throne, I used all my powers and defeated him. Seeing him on the floor, then I realized how old he had become. He was no longer the one who won the holy war and the ultimate ruler of the world but just my old father. At that moment, I couldn’t help but cry. My father didn’t say a word. My brother was standing by the side with his arms folded, watching the whole scene. In the end, he let out a chuckle and turned away to leave.

Someone told me Li Luo had gone to the mortal world, while some said she gave up her powers and repatriated to the Magic Snow Mountain. But Xing Jiu told me Li Luo had been buried deep down in the Sea of Ice.

Then Shi came to ask me. “Ge, have you ever thought of finding her?”

“Find her? Maybe she is already dead.”

“Just a maybe. Maybe she is still alive.”

“Nope. What’s the point of finding her back? Eventually I still have to take over the throne and become the king of the Snow Empire. As for Li Luo, she can never become the queen.”

“Ge, do you like being a king so much? Why can’t you just leave with her?”

“How am I supposed to leave father, mother, my people and you just like that?”

“Ge, if I love someone, I am more than willing to give up everything.” Having said that, he turned around to leave. And myself, I continued to stand in the middle of the snow. This was the first time in my life that I didn’t use my magical shield, and the snow fell on us, covering our shoulders.

That night, I dreamt of Li Luo. Just like what Xing Jiu had told me, she was being buried deep underneath the Sea of Ice. She was smiling and calling my name. She said she was waiting for me and kept calling my name, Ka Suo, Ka Suo, Ka Suo…

She got down from the unicorn, kneeling before me with both arms crossed. She has a bluish white glow around her and she looked up to me, saying. “My king, I am here to fetch you home…”

Xing Jiu was the youngest and greatest astrologer of the Snow Empire, he was also the one who managed to live even after reading Ying Kong Shi’s future. After Shi had attained his adulthood, he had the same silvery white hair just like me. But inside his hair, there were several strands of flaming red hair. Father had once gotten seven astrologers to read Ying Kong Shi’s future, and the first six died in the middle of the reading. All six of them vomited blood and died. Xing Jiu was the seventh one and I only remembered him staring intensely at Shi for some moment before a smile crept across both faces. The kind of smile that looked evil and strange at the same time.

After that Xing Jiu walked to me and knelt down, saying. “Ka Suo, my young king. I will protect your safety with my life.” Once finished, he turned his head to look at Shi and left after that. He didn’t tell anyone about the result of what he had read.

Some time later, Xing Jiu told a palace maid to send me a painting. The painting depicted a huge black rock situated at the coastal shore and next to the rock; the shore was filled with flame lotus. Above the lotus, there was a gigantic white bird hovering in the sky.

When Shi came to my chamber, he saw the painting. His eyes, suddenly, were filled with snow; he turned to leave without saying a word. The wind began blowing from nowhere, blowing onto his white robe.

I took the painting with me and made a trip back to the snow fog forest. Those tall ancient trees continued to provide shade in the forest, sunlight pierced through the gap in between the leaves and shone onto my eyes. There were deer and children playing along the stream. They were all pure bloods. Some of them are astrologers, some were sorcerers but there wasn’t any illusionist. The illusionist has now grown up and brought a painting back.

I stood before granny, looking at her wrinkled face and said. “Granny, I am Ka Suo.”

She came over and raised her hand to stroke my face. She smiled. “My king, you have grown up and you look just like your father. Tall and handsome.”

“Granny, can you tell me the meaning of this painting?”

“Yes, my young king. That coast is called Offshore and the black rock is called the Punishment Rock. If anyone were to violate the taboos of the Snow Empire, he / she would be tied to the rock eternally.”

“Granny, what about the bird?”

“That is a snow bird. This bird will only appear near the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Their voices can melt snow and ice.”

“Then why didn’t I see such bird in this forest?”

“Ka Suo, my young prince, that’s because there isn’t winter and snow here.”

“Granny, what about the flame lotus? What do they represent?”

“I don’t know, Ka Suo. Maybe Xing Jiu is able to tell you, but I can’t. I’m old. I once remembered an old king told me about the flame lotus, he said the flame lotuses will open forever. They symbolize despair, broken and love at all costs.”

“Granny, Shi and I had passed the highest test for illusionist.”

“Really? How’s the result, Ka Suo? What’s the remaining number of cherry blossoms?”

“Granny, none. None remains.”

I saw a warm smile spread across granny’s wrinkled face and the laughter of the children traveled into my ears, making me realized that I have not heard Shi’s laughter for a long time.

[Ice Fantasy by Guo Jing Ming]

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Submitted by Hailey (instagram is: jjasonvoorhees, twitter is: assxhole):

“These are two of my Sylvia Plath tattoos.

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.

A tribute to my favourite poet, favourite book and something/someone who has gotten me through a lot. Even when times are hard and I may not want to continue onward, my stubborn heart won’t let me give up. I’m here and I can make it, just like Esther.

“Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted.”

My own artwork and design, I had always wanted a sort of tribute tattoo for all of those who I’ve lost.
The lotus is a literary symbol of peace, and fire is often symbolic of anger or pain. So, it’s possible to find peace, even in the middle of your most miserable moments.“

Ice Fantasy Chapter 3 – Granny, I Don’t Want To Grow Up

Luo Ying Hill was a holy place of the Magical Snow Mountain; the entire hill was covered with white cherry blossoms and they would never wither. This was where Shi and I passed our final test to become the top illusionists. We have to use every piece of snowflake to hit the petals of the cherry blossoms and replaced the cherry blossoms with snowflakes. I remembered that day our father, my mother and Shi’s mother, Lian Ji, were particularly happy because we have created a miracle in the history of the Snow Empire. There wasn’t even a petal left on the tree. But the only difference was that when Shi’s last petal fell to the ground, I still have a lot of snowflakes flying in the air.

When it’s time to leave, granny sent me out all the way to the border of the forest. I went to give her a hug, and I realized her back had become a little more hunched, and she was only at my chest level. In the past when I was still a kid, I loved sitting on her laps.

“Granny, to be honest to you, I didn’t want to grow up.”

“Ka Suo, you are the future king. So how can you not grow up?”

“Granny, I used to think the king is the superior one, and has everything except one thing. And that is freedom. I love freedom so much. In fact, I wanted to leave this castle, leave the snow kingdom. In fact, the 30 years in the mortal world was the happiest days I ever had. I witnessed the hustling and bustling of the mortals’ lives. And also Shi. During these 30 years, I protected him with my life, and I felt that he’s my world, my everything. Granny, you have been living in the forest, you don’t know the moment when the snow falls, everything become cold. Let alone the castle in the snow, where the snow will continue for ten whole years.”

After saying that I left the snow fog forest. Just when I was about to step into Ren City of Snow, I heard granny’s ethereal voice, she said. “Ka Suo, my young king, the red lotus will blossom soon, the twin stars shall gather, and the wheel of fate has begun. Please wait patiently…”

When Li Luo died – I always thought that she was dead, buried in the depths of the Sea of Ice – I always had the same dream, in the dream Shi and I were walking on a deserted street in the mortal world. It was snowing heavily, Shi turned to me and said. “Ge, I’m so cold! Hug me.” I untied my robe and pulled him towards me. Then I heard the sound of snow-crushing footsteps ahead of me, and then I saw Li Luo She came over, crossed her arms and looked at me. “My king, I am here to bring you home.” Then she turned to leave, I wanted to chase after her but I couldn’t move at all. I could only watch Li Luo disappeared into the heavy snow, and never come back.

There was always one man who would appear at the end of the dream - silvery-white hair, unruly handsome face, tall physique, snow white magic robe – he looked just like my father in his younger days. He came over, knelt before me and kissed my brow. He said, “Ge, if you do not want to go home, then don’t go back. Please be free…”

Then I felt a sudden chill, and that person would always ask me. “Ge, are you cold?” I nodded. He then curled his left index finger up, and began chanting a spell. Lotus-liked flames began dancing around me, I used to be exceptionally afraid of the fire of the Fire Tribe, but I felt sincere warmth instead. When I looked up to see his face, his image would become blurred, and then gradually dispersed away like the mist.

Since young, I have always been a quiet kid. I never liked talking to others except Shi. Ever since the return from the snow fog forest, I have been suffering from insomnia. Every night I would stand on the palace roof, watching the moonlight dancing on the tiles, listening to the breathing of the northern snow fog forest, and smiled dazedly with lonesome moonlight on my face.

I didn’t want to be a king, when my older brothers were still alive, I hoped when I grew up I could go live in seclusion at Magic Snow Mountain with Shi after we grew up. When I told Shi about my wish, I remembered his smile was exceptionally bright and happy. He told me. “Ge, you have to remember. You must remember.” However, the moment my older brothers died in the holy world, I never spoke a single word about that wish to Shi anymore and he also never mentioned anything about it.

After that I met Li Luo, the two of us sat on the roof the whole night. Staring at the dancing starlight, watching the falling snow, covering the entire territory of the Snow Empire.

After Li Luo’s death, Xing Jiu gave me a dream that he wanted me to enter.  In the dream, I saw Li Luo in white, and she was standing high up on the unicorn. I heard her saying. “A long time ago, I was a simple and fortunate person. Everyday I would have very sweet and deep dreams until I met Ka Suo. Every night was a sleepless night to him, and so I would accompany him to sit on the vast empty palace roof, watching the starlight dancing on his silvery-white hair…”

On my 240-year-old birthday feast, my father seated on his high icy throne, smiling at me and said. “Ka Suo, I announce you as the next king of the Snow Empire. I will hand the whole empire to you on your 250th birthday.” Then I heard the cheers from the sorcerers and astrologers, worshipping me but I just stood in the centre with an expressionless face, my empty heart was filled with the sound of the wind.

“Father, maybe I am the better candidate to be the king.” Shi stood next to me, smiling, but said firmly.

“Shi, what are you talking about?” Father looked at him and the whole court of sorcerers as well.

“I said, maybe I can be a better king than Ka Suo.” Then Shi turned to me and smiled. He leant down and kissed my eyebrow, saying. “Ge, my hair grows longer than yours.” I saw my mother sitting next to my father, looking at me with concerns. And Lian Ji, Shi’s mother, had an eerie smile in her eyes.

I remembered that day a highly respected sorcerer, Fa Ta, stepped out and helped to end this embarrassing situation. He looked up at my brother and said. “Young prince, the king is not just someone with the strongest spiritual power, so you cannot replace your brother.”

Then Shi walked over, touching his hair and said. “Sorcerer Fa Ta, but if someone like you whose hair is only at the length of the knees becomes the king, and that someone wants to kill you, what should you do? How long can you stay as the king? Sorcerer Fa Ta, I want to kill you, what will you do?” Then Shi turned around to leave the hall, his smile was unpredictable and evil. I heard his unbridled laughter echoing everywhere within the city. Three days later, Fa Ta was found dead in his sorcery room, clothes intact, but his body has melted into water completely, just like death caused by the fire magic of the fire elves.

The death of Fa Ta caused the entire city to sink into dead silence. People were wondering if the Fire Tribe had sneaked into the territory of the Snow Empire, and even Ren City of Snow.

I once asked Xing Jiu. “Do you know how Fa Ta died?”

“Yes, but please forgive me, my young king. I cannot tell you.”

“You can’t even tell me?”

“Yes even your father too. You should know that astrologers of Ren City of Snow have the freedom to read the stars and to interpret dreams, but also the right to remain silent.”

“Fine, I’m tired now. I don’t want to know anymore now. Let me ask you one last question, is there someone from the Fire Tribe in Ren City of Snow?”

“My king, the answer is no. If there is one, I’ll tell you and I will protect you with my life. My king, as long as there is someone that threatens you, I will protect you with my life.”

“Then did Fa Ta die under the fire magic?”

Xing Jiu turned his back to me, and left without saying a word. Snow fell and covered Xing Jiu’s shoulders. I wanted to go over to shield him with my magic shield, but I didn’t in the end. I turned and left. As I walked back to the palace, I heard granny’s ethereal voice piercing through the snow, saying. “Ka Suo, my young king. Red lotus is about to bloom, twin star will eventually gather, the wheel of fate has begun. Please wait patiently…”

Three months after Fa Ta’s death, the city suddenly went ablaze, everyone’s face was reflected in the red firelight. This was the second time I saw the red ablaze sky after that holy war and my father’s cold solemn face. The place on fire was Mirage Sky, Ying Kong Shi’s palace.

When I arrived the Mirage Sky, the fire had already engulfed the entire palace. I saw the palace maids dissipated into the fire and eventually turning into white mist, just like how the sorcerers of the empire died in the holy war. I thought of Shi, suddenly I saw his smile in the sky. I curled my ring finger and called upon the snow. With snow swirling around me, I burst into the burning palace. Shi was lying on the ground, surrounded by very little residual snow to protect him. I picked him up from the floor and shielded him with my snow barrier. I saw his hand over his eye; glistening white blood couldn’t stop gushing out from his fingers. That moment I was so devastated, was he the world that I would protect with my life? Was this how I protected Shi?

Shi looked at me with one eye and smile, then he fainted. Right before he went out of conscious, he said something to me, one word, just one word. “Ge.”

I held him in my embrace and told the unconscious Shi. “Shi, no matter who wants to hurt you, I will tie him into pieces. Because you are my world.”

Xing Jiu was standing on the altar at the Magic Snow Mountain in the fog.

“Xing Jiu, do you anything about the fire at Mirage Sky?”

“I know, my dear king. Your father asked me the same question as well. But please forgive me, I can’t say anything.”

“Let me ask you. Is it the fire from the Fire Tribe that hurt Shi?”

Xing Jiu walked over and knelt in front of me with his hands crossed, saying. “Ka Suo, my future king, no one will hurt Ying Kong Shi, believe me. But king, some things are not as simple as you think. Ka Suo, my young king, the red lotus is about to bloom. Twin stars will gather eventually, the wheel of fate has begun, please wait patiently…”

After that fire, Shi lost his sight of one eye. Seeing him wearing an eye patch, my heart couldn’t help but to feel sad. But he always told me it’s fine, smiling sweetly.

He leant over and kissed my eyebrow, calling me. “Ge.” Cherry blossoms never stopped falling from the tree, falling all over our shoulders.

After so many things had happened, my father began to worry about the safety of the empire, and he seemed to consider handing the throne to Shi. However the end result was never made known, but everytime I walked past Lian Ji, I would always see her eerie yet bewitching smile. For once, father had asked Shi when at the grand hall. “Shi, you really want to be a king?”

Shi said. “Yes, I want to be the king. Gege wanted freedom, please give him his freedom. Please give me the throne.”

Lian Ji’s smile became wider, bewitching the whole city, bewitching the whole country.

One day under the cherry blossom tree, I asked Shi. “Shi, you really want to be a king so much?”

“Ge, do you want to be a king?”

“No. I want to go back to snow fog forest where there is no snow, warm like spring, and there’s granny – the first person who taught me sorcery.”

“Ge, since you don’t want, then just let me be the king.” Cherry blossoms fell like snowflakes; I heard the sound of the snowbird, snow started to melt. The bewitching smile of Lian Ji.

Another winter was here. The little princess of the Sea Palace had finally grown up. I’ve heard from many people were talking about her beauty, and also her having the purest blood. The concubines for the royalty were all from the Sea Palace, my mother was one, and so was Lian Ji. Before 130-year-old, they were in their mermaid look. And once they hit 130-year-old, they would the most beautiful woman and entered the city.

“This little princess will become your wife, Ka Suo. She will be the future queen.” Father led the mermaid princess, Lan Sang, who was in her human form towards me. I saw Lan Sang’s beautiful face and smile. She knelt before me with both hands crossed, and said. “Ka Suo, my future king.” At that moment, I thought of Li Luo all of a sudden, she was at the deepest level of the Sea Palace too. I wondered if she would become the pure blood mermaid in her next life. I looked at Lan Sang, I almost thought she was Li Luo, their faces were almost similar. She came to take my hand, and tiptoed to kiss my brow. Then I heard Shi’s evil and cruel laughter.

“Father, maybe Lan Sang would choose me. Why must you let her and Ka Suo be together?”

Shi came up to me and pulled Lan Sang to him, stroking her and said. “You hair is pure silvery-white, you must have the purest blood in you. Marry me, I will protect you from any harm.”

Lan Sang said with a smile. “Shi, my dear young prince, the one I love is your brother. You are just a little brother in my heart. In fact, when I was still a mermaid, I’ve already known your brother. Because I love him, I want to be his bride. I believe he can protect me, letting me grow old together with him.”

“Is that so?” Shi suddenly leant closer to her ear and said softly. “But Ka Suo isn’t the strongest illusionist. For example I want to kill, what will you do? And what else can he do?”

With that he turned away to leave, his weird and creepy laughter filled the entire place, every single place where the snow fall.

One month later, Lan Sang died under the cherry blossom tree. When she died, her lower body transformed back to her mermaid tail.

Both my parents remained tight-lipped on this matter; no one in the palace was allowed to talk about this. But many people were saying that Lan Sang died from suicide. Only Lian Ji’s smile continued to creep around me.

“Granny, why Lan Sang’s lower body turned into a tail when she died? Hasn’t she already become a human?”

“Ka Suo, the mermaid tribe has always been marriage partner for the royalty, because of their noble status, and their ability to control water, so the combination of the royalty and the mermaid tribes will produce the descendants with the strongest spiritual power. This is the reason why Li Luo cannot become the queen of Snow Empire. Mermaid tribe will become human at the age of 130, but if she were being humiliated before being officially married to the prince, she will then revert to her mermaid form.”

“Granny, do you know who humiliated Lan Sang?”

“I don’t know.”

“Granny, did she die from suicide?”

“I don’t know. Ka Suo, I am not an astrologer, Xing Jiu may be able to tell you.”

“Xing Jiu, can you tell how Lan Sang die?”

“Suicide, all internal organs were being pierced by water within the body.”

“Why would she commit suicide?”

“Because her chastity has been tainted, and so her lower body has turned back to a fish tail because she felt humiliated and was too shameful to see you. She loves you very much.”

“Tell me who did that to her?”

“My king, I’ve always told you I can’t tell you anything, but this time, I would like to show you a dream. It’s your dream and there is a secret within this dream. Not sure if you could see it or not, but if you could, all your problems or questions would be solved.”

The dream that Xing Jiu gave me was the scene where Shi and I were having our final illusionist test. Shi and I got our left ring finger curled up, chanting the spell, sweeping the snowflakes off the ground. I walked in and out the dream, but I couldn’t understand why Xing Jiu gave me this dream. I just couldn’t interpret it.

Until near the end of this winter, father solemnly declared that I would be the next king. That night I entered that same dream again, and I found the answers to all my questions.

In that dream, when Shi and I casted the spell at the same time, my left ring finger was curled up, while Shi’s right index finger was also moving unknowingly.

This gesture belonged to the Fire Tribe. I saw this action while I was on my run from the Fire Tribe.

—–

“Xing Jiu, tell me what you know. When did you know Shi’s secret?”

“The moment when I read his fortune. I did a check on the six astrologers, and from their bodies, I found their cause of deaths.”

“Why did they die?”

“Very simple, because Shi uses illusion magic to kill them. A very simple illusion magic, and that is turning the water in their bodies to ice, piercing through all their internal organs. Just because Shi is the prince, no one will suspect him, let alone those six astrologers, so he could do it very easily.”

“Then what about you, Xing JIu?”

“When Shi tried to cast the magic, I broke it secretly. It’s a simple trick to me. But at the same time Shi knew that I became wary of him. On that day, when everyone left, he came over and told me. “Xing Jiu, you are a great astrologer, if you can forget about what you had read today, then you can continue to live on. If not, you will experience the greatest illusion magic.” Then he gave me an eerie smile.”

“Why didn’t he let others read his fortune?”

“Because he didn’t want others to know about him knowing illusion skills of the Fire Tribe.”

“What about Fa Ta’s death?”

“It’s Shi who killed him.”

“The fire at Mirage Sky?”

“It was Shi who did it.”

“Then… Lan Sang’s death? It was Shi again?”

“He raped her, and then she committed suicide out of shame.”

“Xing Jie, what is the meaning of the painting that you had given me earlier?”

“My king, there are some things that I can’t tell you right now. And do you know? In fact, when Shi turned adult that year, he told me to read his stars. I was the first who read his stars. That time, I gave him a dream, it was a dream that I have never seen it before. Eerie but beautiful. Someday I will give this dream to you, because you are also the owner of this dream.”

“Xing Jiu, can you tell me the dream now?”

“Cannot. But there is a dream that I can give you now, and that is the dream before Lan Sang’s death.”

After much talking Xing Jiu left and made his way to the Star Sacrificial Altar. As for me, I stood in front of the city door, looking around. Snow enveloped the entire black earth land; I watched the greenery of the Snow Fog Forest stretching across the horizon, and my heart felt sad. In my daze, I heard the water dripping sound during Fa Ta’s death, I heard the collapsing sound during the Mirage Sky’s fire, I heard Lan Sang’s night song when she died, then I heard Shi calling out for me during the fire. “Ge,” My tear streamed down and dropped onto the white marble step, turning into ice.

Xing Jiu’s ethereal voice traveled across the vast land and said. “Ka Suo, my young king. Red lotus is blooming soon, twin stars will gather, and the wheel of fate has begun. Please wait patiently…”

That night I sat on the roof of the palace, under the clear bright moon, I entered Lan Sang’s dream. In the dream, I saw the younger Lan Sang, she was swimming in the ice sea near the city. She was swimming in the sea, lithe like a butterfly. At the same time, I heard her inner voice; her beautiful voice was just like the legendary mermaids’ singing voice.

“I know the man on the roof. His name is Ka Suo, the future king of the Snow Empire. Every night I will always see him sitting on the roof, his eyes sparkled like the stars. The night wind was blowing on his and his snow-white robe; his hair flew like smooth satin in the wind. I don’t understand why isn’t he sleeping. I only know after seeing him, I will continue to come back to the same place, imagining myself being together with him under the same starry sky.

“Granny told me I am the most beautiful child from the Sea Palace, I will become the future princess. When I turned adult, I will become his wife. Ka Suo, my future king. I will accompany him to sit on the roof every night, watching the stars. Ka Suo, my future king, please wait for me. Wait for me…”