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Chapter 1 Homebody Fairy's New Assignment
On the four-poster bed, between the silk-wrapped pillars, a man could be seen sleeping spread-eagle style. His head was turned slightly, showing off his thick lashes, casting a leisurely shadow on his resting face.
Xie Linlin put a smelly gas flower under the man's nose, straightened, and then held her breath and counted to three.
Three, two, one . . .
The man's eyes opened wide.
His shout could be heard throughout the heavens, silencing the cicadas outside.
"Xie Linlin, what the hell are you doing?"
Linlin grimaced. She fell forward, kneeling and kowtowing. "Heavenly King, please forgive me! I had no choice!"
The man's anger disappeared.
He rubbed his forehead and squinted his eyes to look at the kneeling Linlin, who still clutched the smelly gas flower.
The flower looked odd, with only two dark purple petals and a black stem with clear veins.
Only ten such flowers grew every 500 years in all of the heavens.
He was curious. How did Linlin, a lower fairy, get her hands on it?
He pondered this as a finger on his right hand made a small flame that slowly licked toward the flower.
When Linlin looked up, the flower was already burned and evaporated.
She was stunned.
She scratched the back of head and tried to speak slowly. "Heavenly King, where is my flower?"
"What flower?" The man—the Heavenly King—narrowed his almond-shaped eyes and leaned back. He crossed his legs and looked out the sky window above his sleeping palace.
A few fluffy clouds could be seen out the window; they moved and made up many enticing scenes. The Heavenly King liked staying in bed because the sky window was great for observing all things in the world. He could observe the heavens, or if his mood preferred, the mortal world.
It was much more relaxing than being anywhere else.
Xie Linlin's mission was going to fail.
His eyes lazily swept over Linlin. His lips were turned up and his straight nose sat on a bright and pale face—typical for someone who rarely left the house.
When the Heavenly King looked at her, Linlin felt frozen.
His eyes were too mesmerizing; they made her thoughts float everywhere, as if they were being pulled inside the caves of primitive times, an indescribable sensation.
The Heavenly King acted nonchalant, and said, "You mean the flower you used to wake me up? I'm sorry, I'm grouchy when I wake up. I burned it."
"You what?" Linlin looked thunderstruck.
It took her a while to understand the information; after much thinking, she uttered, "But Heavenly King—"
"But?" The man sat up. His lips seemed to hold a smile both seductive yet ethereal, a perfect contrast on him. If Linlin didn't know what he was truly like, she would have fallen for him.
Too bad this man was not someone a mere lower fairy like her could handle. Plus, she wasn't interested in men who did nothing all day.
The man of Linlin's dreams was a strong and brave general on the battlefield. He had a sense of justice; in more conventional terms, he was a rule-follower like her.
The Heavenly King was waiting for Linlin to continue, but she seemed to be lost in thought again. He coughed to wake her up. "But what?"
"It's a flower I borrowed from the Flower Fairy. I don't know what to tell her."
"Flower Fairy?" The Heavenly King frowned, visualizing a stooped-over and wrinkled woman. "That old fairy? Isn't she very stingy? She would lend to you?"
Linlin nodded. "She's not stingy, really. Please don't blame her. She only takes the flowers she has raised very seriously." She continued, "To be honest, I had to kneel in front of her place for three days and nights before she agreed to lend me the smelly gas flower until my mission ends."
"Your mission ends now." The Heavenly King looked at her with frustration. "Who gave you this mission anyway? I'm the biggest in the heavens. I didn't give you this mission . . . Why are you here? Get out of here."
"No." Linlin shook her head. "Heavenly King isn't the biggest in the heavens. There's someone else."
The Heavenly King looked hurt; he didn't say anything else to Linlin.
But that's him who didn't want to talk. Just as he collapsed onto the bed again, Linlin pulled on his hand and pulled him toward the door. "Heavenly King, it's not so good being in the palace all the time. It's not good for your health, and it's not great for communicating with new fairies. This is truly my first mission. As the Homebody Fairy, I have to make you less of a homebody; please don't make this so difficult."
The Heavenly King held onto his bed. "No, I'm not leaving! I'm staying here! I want to sleep! I want to read storybooks! I'm not leaving!"
Again, Linlin had the sensation that she was his mom.
Whenever he threw a tantrum, Linlin was helpless. Again, his strategy was effective. This round ended with him reading storybooks he borrowed from the Book God and eating all the delicious foods the mortals offered.
Linlin stood next to him; her face was stony. Like always, she thought of what she could do the next day to win.
The Heavenly King didn't understand what motivated Linlin.
As a fairy, while not a well-known one, she was still pretty. Why was she always so serious?
He couldn't help checking her out again.
Linlin had a lovely face. Her big eyes always had a light to them, and her pert nose topped petal-like lips. She also had neat brows and a clear gaze, but she rarely showed her teeth. Smiles should make one feel pleasant, but her overly serious demeanor made her seem older than her years.
Just like her personality.
The Heavenly King cupped his chin with a hand and sighed.
Standing next to him, still strategizing, Linlin thought back to a week ago. Her usually leisure self had received a summons from the Buddha Ancestor. When she'd read the message, she'd thought she'd have a breakdown.
Linlin had never had a mission for all these years she'd been in heaven. Other fairies had all these missions, which made them stronger, while only she had stayed the same after a few hundred years. Since she never had a mission, she didn't know what they had entailed.
The Flower Fairy's mission was to rescue endangered flowers, the Book God's was to repair broken books, and even unusual spirits like the Ox God would help people farm. Only she had no idea what she was meant to do.
When she finally received a mission, the usually serious Linlin broke into a smile and told every fairy she knew.
But when she learned the actual mission, which was to help the very housebound Heavenly King enjoy going out and not always stay in his palace, Lin Shishi, Linlin's best friend and the Zodiac God for the Ram, patted her in sympathy. "You're screwed."
Shishi's eyes were filled with pity for her.
Linlin didn't want to admit it, but her friend's eyes told her the truth. "Mission dimed to fail."
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