Children of Heaven [INVITE ONLY]


Also known as Pikabo, I like to write stories!
Mid of night, you come; daybreak, away you go.
You come like a dream of spring, O brief, so brief;
Gone as the morning clouds to where I'll never know.

In the reign of the Luo Dynasty, a beautiful flower was given up to selfish men.

The Forgettable Life of the White Peony I

Dongjing, Zhen Empire

"It’ll do." Emperor Yuan said in a cold, dead voice of an approval. But it is understandable, and most desirable. She is a stranger in the Imperial Court and she does not wish to become a familiar. This is to show the worth of her family to the Emperor, not hers. She hopes, and there is no doubt, she will be one of the rejected.

Still she trembled. Before marital prospects, this is a matter of appearance. Trying to regain composure was difficult in front of the assembled lords and manly courtiers as the judicious audience, with a long line of candidates waiting for their turn, maidens noble and refined as she. She must go down in a dogeza and recite the gratitude.

I thank Your Majesties the Emperor and Empress for this opportunity bestowed upon me. I promise to work hard so as to not cause shame for Their most gracious Majesties.

But how could she?

The gaze of a hundred eyes is a gaze of a people two-fold. It pierced through her supposed composure, breaking down the stiff posture she needed to achieve that disciplined grace, and her nervous mind kept clarity away and hid what she has long prepared for this very moment.

Like a foolish demon in snake form coiling around her legs to slither commit perversion, her cream silk dress gets caught around them and she steps on it, the finest and the longest dress of the family possessions. She wobbled as she stepped back onto her two feet and tried to maintain her balance. The worst was over.

She takes a step backward in the place of rightful and respectful distance for the recitation. She lowers and bows her head to begin the dogeza, but another trip has led her to stumble and slip forward. Right in front of the steps of the Great Sun Throne, she fell completely prostrate on the floor. What have I done?

She refused to lift her head up, she remained with her face planted on the feet of the lowliest human dignity. Nay, the absence of it. This is where little creatures dwell and mindless filth belong. Fearful of the shame she has just brought in this most sacred hall, and the shame she will carry in her name and her family’s honor forever.

Never mind the pain of her fall! Never mind honor! It is her life now that is at stake.

She has tainted this place with stubborn pride and clumsy malice. The Emperor will have her taken away for this. And worse-! Bound in tcha outside the city gates...where stray and homeless eat and sleep where they defecate. What a fate!

"HAHA!!! HEHE!!! HOHO!!!"

It was an immature boisterous reception unbefitting the vigorous voice of a baritone man. Peculiar. Nay, strange. Non-human. It gasped and groaned like a monkey who had watched a man slip on its banana. Almost like dying shrills from a crying banshee.

She lifted her head up to only look behind her, to her sides, even above and below her. She looked everywhere...except the only place she cannot dare to set her eyes on.

Emperor Yuan ceased. His silence reigned in the Hall of Supreme Enlightenment. None of the closer ranks of the Inner Court made any sound. This is the might of the Emperor, and he will lay my sentence as judge, jury, and executioner.

"Meet the gaze of the Empress, chosen flower."

So she did, sighing great relief, and she almost flinched.

It was a...pleasant shock. The woman next to the Emperor looked no younger than her mother, and she can no longer walk long distances.

Suddenly, she remembers a wisdom from her wet nurse that taught her the knowledge of the common folk. It is said, often in joking manner and behind the ears of her parents, that any noble or rich man that wears more layers than her peers, have endeavored to compensate for something they wished they materially lacked and not naturally possessed, that nobody finds the peaches tucked beneath their garments.

Perhaps, if kept immaterial in mental solitude, it will be fine. That the person which reminded her of that wisdom is by the most graceful presence of heaven's appointed daughter, the Empress of all Zhen.

"Common," sounds like Mother too, "The air around you may rot the most precious Yellow Carnation. You have failed to recite the gratitude!" acts like Mother when she is angry, "With no trace of grace whatsoever! I doubt the very qualities which supposedly brought your family's place, here, in the immediate and most auspicious attention benevolently bestowed by Our Majesty... But you amuse us, girl."

She dropped to the floor to do a dogeza and bowed her head, lower until her head touched the floor.

"A thousand apologies, Your Majesties. In this infinite mercy, I offer my life as I am eternally indebted to you and His Majesty. I am not worthy, nay, not even fit to become a flower."

"But you are...!" The Empress raised her voice, a matriarch in a room dominated by men. "Do not be ignorant, flower. Our mercy may be infinite, but we must not allow any indulgence."

"I apologize, Your Majesties," she bowed again, "I tried to learn all my life about the importance of sharp tongue and mind. Yet my heart aches in the daunting prospect of talking with other people. For as long as I lived, I was kept inside in fear I would be taken by undesirable men. I lack the proper span of attention to be able to hear through my own words in time."

"I see there is justice to your childhood detainment."

She shivered. It was the Emperor.

"It's rare to find beauty among the noblewomen of today..." He gives an appraising hum, "If the function of this ceremony is to determine which hips will bear the fruits of my legacy, then it should be noted for reconfiguration, that I no longer desire the gratitude in the presentation. It prolongs the precious time I waste for this. Time I need for the administration of state."

The Empress gasps, groaning satisfaction. "Wonderful innovation, Your Majesty!"

The Empress stands up from the throne and glances at the crowds gathered on both sides of the Great Hall, before she looks in the general direction in front of her.

"Lords and Ladies. Let us give praise to His Majesty and his effort to bring reform to our great Empire. Let us show our support to restore the Empire to its former glory! Long live the Emperor!"

"LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!!!" They all shouted.

Except her, still in dogeza.

"...Thank you." The Emperor hummed in satisfaction. "Now, let us bestow a name upon you."

There was only silence again. The Emperor seemed to have taken forever to choose a name. But she knew this silence was temporary as he might have asked the Empress. Though not at all eavesdropping, nor is she or anyone from or beyond her distance capable of such a grievous act, the total silence has allowed her to hear.

"After sharing in His Majesty's universal wisdom, we have decided to call you...White Peony."

"Rise, White Peony!" The Emperor calls, and she, the White Peony, obeys.

"Welcome to Gugong Palace."
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