Chapter 19: Paramita Flower (Part Two)
Hyacinth continued, “At that time, he was young and had just taken over the Yellow Spring Kingdom. One day, he acquired the seeds of Manzhu Shahua from outside of the kingdom and planted them. Seeing how beautiful they were after they bloomed, he took care of them more attentively. 500 years ago, Manzhu Shahua transformed into a spirit and he named her Flower Lady. Later she became his wife and gave birth to a daughter named Lady Pothos. Flower Lady got tired of the onerous life in the Yellow Spring Kingdom and wanted to go to the outside world. But as a flower spirit, she couldn’t live long away from her original body, so she could only move freely in the Yellow Spring Kingdom which wasn’t limited by time or space. But no matter how the Yama King pleaded, she just didn’t listen. Finally, she ran out when he wasn’t looking; the result was obvious. Since then, the Yama King changed and became very unpredictable in temperament. He doesn’t allow anyone to form any emotional attachment to any people or anything. He imprisons his daughter in a tall tower and doesn’t allow her to have contact with anyone. People thought he’d destroy the remaining Manzhu Shahua, but he only moved them to the other side of the Nai River across from his palace. I think he still loves Flower Lady, or his love has turned into hatred. He moved the flowers to the remotest place in this void world and looks at them from afar. It’s a sad story.”
Hearing the story about the Paramita Flowers, the three youths turned from astonished to regretful; they were sorry about Flower Lady’s fate and the change in the Yama King after the heavy blow he had received; they were even more sorry for Lady Pothos who had been imprisoned by her father.
The story reminded Xia Qiu of her strained relationship with her father and felt a stinging pain in her heart. After her mother died of a heart attack when giving birth to her, her father had always been aloof to her. This was a secret she had hidden in her heart; she didn’t even tell Liu Lingmei about it, but now she was reminded of it by the story.
“Let’s hear the story later. I’ll go get the flowers now!”
Qianqi reached out and plucked a Manzhu Shahua, but the bright blossom withered immediately after it left its stem and petals fell to the ground from his fingers.
“You’re so impatient.” Hyacinth shook his head.
“Why is that?” Qianqi looked back at him and asked.
“Don’t think the task is so easy! The Yama King planted a curse on the flowers, and they’ll die if they leave their stems. He’s a ruthless man; even he himself can’t take the flowers to the other bank,” said Hyacinth.
“You mean there’s no solution to the problem?” Qianqi stomped his foot and got impatient again.
“There might be a solution,” Hyacinth said mysteriously.
“Please tell us.” Ouyang Xiaoleng also got impatient.
“To break Yama King’s spell, you need the young miss’s help.” Hyacinth looked at Xia Qiu.
“My help?” Xia Qiu was puzzled.
“Yes. I need your tears. Human tears are pure water not belonging to this world. I think they can extend Manzhu Shahua’s life after they leave their stems,” Hyacinth said confidently as he extended a hand to Xia Qiu.
Xia Qiu was still sad about the story behind the Paramita Flowers in the Yellow Spring Kingdom and the odd relationship between the Yama King and his daughter; when Hyacinth asked for her tears, she cried immediately. As tears slid down her cheeks like pearls, Hyacinth drew them into his palm with a spell and dripped them carefully onto the petals of some Manzhu Shahua blossoms.
He turned to Ouyang Xiaoleng and Qianqi and instructed them, “Try again. But be careful and don’t let the tears fall from the petals!”
Ouyang Xiaoleng inhaled deeply and carefully plucked a Manzhu Shahua blossom, carrying it in his palms with great caution. Qianqi and Xia Qiu held their breaths as they watched him. Sure enough, as Hyacinth had guessed, the blossom didn’t wither. Qianqi and Xia Qiu plucked some blossoms and carried them in their palms steadily. With her mind concentrated on keeping the flowers steady, Xia Qiu’s tears had stopped.
They returned to the other bank of the Nai River with the flowers and walked toward the black tower behind the Maya Palace since Lady Pothos was imprisoned in this tower.
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