Stunning photo by @darkfaerietales_!
Hi Fairy Friends!
Welcome to day 2 of our readalong of Daughter of the Moon Goddess! Xingyin’s coming into her magic and herself and I’m excited to see where this section will take us!
Today we’re reading from Chapter 8 to the end of Chapter 16. Let’s get reading!
Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan, from chapters 8 to 16. Please only read on if you’ve finished this section!
Liwei wakes Xingyin up EARLY, I’d be livid… He intends today to be the day where he claims on the wager and Xingyin has to do his bidding. I wonder what he has planned? They’re heading out of the palace, Captain Wenzhi has returned so the General has released them from their obligations and their other tutors are attending an audience with Liwei’s father. It seems they’re not allowed to leave the palace, since he’s disguising their auras. When Xingyin asks him what her aura is like he says it’s like rain, fierce, relentless and untamed.
They arrive at an amazing magical market. Xingyin is drawn to a shell that’s enchanted to capture your favourite sound. It’s from the Southern Sea and she instantly thinks of Ping’er. Liwei offers to buy it but instead, clever Xingyin gives the stall owner an offer and he lets her play her flute into the shells in exchange for the Southern Sea shell. When Liwei jokingly says she should get a stall here next time and Xingyin says he could sit beside her and sell paintings, they both get kinda doe eyed and think about how good it would be. I’m sensing a lil romance here, fairies. Here. For. It!
Then they come across Sky Drop Tassels. I love the sound of these! Liwei buys a matching pair, he puts his aura in one and gives it to Xingyin and instructs her to put her aura in the other and attaches it to his own belt. If either is in trouble, the Sky Drop Tassel with their aura in will glow red, so they’ll always know when the other is safe.
We’ve jumped forward two years. It’s Liwei’s birthday tomorrow and busy preparing his birthday gift, Xingyin is running late to attend to him today, playing her flute into the Southern Sea shell she purchased those years ago to gift to Liwei. When she arrives at Liwei’s chamber, his mother the Celestial Empress is there and she immediately scolds Xingyin for running late and leaving Liwei to ‘attend to himself’.
Liwei, protective of Xingyin devises a quick lie and says he gave her a task to find snow ginseng root to have brewed into a tonic for Their Celestial Majesties. The empress hints at a grand event happening tomorrow and when she mentions a princess, Liwei seems intrigued? Weird.
In the kitchen, Xingyin speaks to Minyi about the empress and says she is so ill tempered because of the loss of her kin… her kin turn out to be the SUNBIRDS that Xingyin’s father shot down??? Whaaaaaat! Minyi thankfully doesn’t notice that Xingyin is VERY interested in the outcome of the archer above all else.
Back to their classes, Xingyin is excelling at archery, so much so that her skills result in the applause of a mysterious tall, lean soldier? Who is this?
General Jianyun confronts Xingyin and asks her what she plans to do once she’s no longer Liwei’s companion, an outcome Xingyin clearly never foresaw. He asks if she has considered entering the army and Xingyin isn’t totally against the idea, interesting. He tells her some soldiers strive to win the Crimson Lion Talisman, whoever wins it is granted a royal favour. Could this be Xingyin’s opportunity to free her mother?
Liwei is unsurprisingly interested in knowing what General Jianyun spoke about and we know Xingyin doesn’t like lying so she tells him honestly and he is shocked? Surely neither of them anticipated attending lessons forever?
They clearly have an amazing friendship, especially since both have been quite forthright about the fact that they’ve never really experienced much friendship before. Liwei wants to help Xingyin with her hopes and dreams but… we all know that Liwei doesn’t entirely know Xingyin. He knows her but not where she comes from. Would he still feel the same if he knew that her mother was Chang’e, exiled to the moon for disobeying his parents and her father was Houyi, who shot down his mother’s, and therefore his own kin?
He does tell her though, not to make any hasty decisions, and I think that’s good advice!
Xingyin wakes abruptly from a nightmare, and here comes her knight in shining armour! Liwei heard her screaming and rushed to her chamber. He holds her hand and strokes her cheek as she cries and then, the atmosphere changes, and he’s KISSING HER! But then he’s moved away and he’s apologising and she’s saying it was a mistake and he’s asking why and WOW their dynamic just changed so quickly. They’ve grown together as friends for more than two years, slowly growing to love each other and now he’s finally kissed her! He admits he’s wanted to do it for a long time, and can’t forget about it.
Xingyin realises it must be Liwei’s birthday now and gives him the shell. So sweet! They promise to spend the day together tomorrow and he leaves her room, leaving Xingyin to consider whether she should tell Liwei who she really is now that they’ve crossed a line from friendship to more.
I need an enchanted dress with starlings that float around the skirt. Unfair. When she finds Liwei, he gives her a hair pin (which are traditionally gifted as a love token, swoon). He manages to convince Xingyin to attend his banquet tonight and then he summons a cloud (coolest way to travel, try convincing me otherwise) and they’re off to the mortal realm.
They have a picnic of sorts and toast to happiness and dreams. Xingyin tells Liwei she dreams of always being with her loved ones. So sweet. We know that’s Chang’e and Ping’er though, has Liwei now been included in that?
He shows her the Phoenix Fire Bow and in true Liwei and Xingyin fashion, they have a challenge! Whoever shoots from the farthest distance is the winner. Blindfolded, Xingyin shoots, then Liwei is kissing her, in the rain no less! Ah, the romance.
Gasp! After Xingyin goads Liwei that he only kissed her because she won, he says:
“Why did I fall in love with someone who takes so much pleasure in grinding my pride into the dust?”
HE’S DONE IT. THE “L” WORD HAS BEEN DROPPED!
They return to the Jade Palace and Xingyin is greeted by an attendant telling her someone is waiting for Liwei outside. Weird, are they in trouble?
It’s a girl, and she has a gift for Liwei… this is a bit sketchy. Then she only goes and knocks over a paintbrush and ruins one of Liwei’s art pieces! Unintentionally… but still! Who is this girl causing destruction and wanting to give Liwei gifts? Rude.
Xingyin though, is kind and instead of blaming the girl (like she was blamed at the Golden Lotus Mansion) she says it could’ve been a bird, letting the girl know she won’t tell.
Once alone, she opens the parchment the attendant gave her. It’s a drawing from Liwei, of her. She’s shocked at how Liwei sees her, strong and beautiful! He’s written a note to say she may have won the challenge, but not the greatest prize. Is he saying the greatest prize is her? CUTE. She adds underneath “there are no prizes in the game of hearts”. Are they both winners?
Ok people, it’s banquet time! I don’t have high hopes for this since Liwei’s parents will be there but hopefully Xingyin can have fun!
At least Xingyin has General Jianyun to keep her company and… who’s this? A cool and fresh aura, dense and strong, black eyes, high cheekbones, strong jaw and a well formed mouth.
Ahhhhh it’s the illustrious Captain Wenzhi! And it turns out he was the one that erupted into applause yesterday when Xingyin was shooting bows, he’s very openly impressed with Xingyin’s skills. Xingyin sits with them and Liwei is sitting on the dais next to the girl Xingyin saw destroy Liwei’s painting earlier… Even though he is sitting next to a princess, he’s glowering at Xingyin, assumingly for sitting with tall dark and handsome Wenzhi. After the horrible empress forces Xingyin to play the song she wrote for Liwei after noticing her hair pin, the hair pin Liwei gifted her. She’s a wretched person.
No. No no no no no. Liwei is BETROTHED???? TO THE PRINCESS???? He literally just told Xingyin he loves her, earlier that day???? WHAT IS GOING ON? Wenzhi can clearly tell from the looks Liwei gave Xingyin and the look that Xingyin now has on her face that there was something between them, and offers Xingyin comfort by holding her hand. My heart is absolutely broken for her. Why would Liwei trick her like this?? I need an explanation!
Liwei finds Xingyin after the banquet and begs her to let him explain, but she’s gone cold. She’s back to calling him Your Highness and acting like nothing more than a servant, asking if he needs assistance for the night. In an attempt to get her to listen he says he won’t excuse her and makes her go through the motions of getting his chamber ready, combing his hair, everything. Does he not realise how much this must hurt her?
He tells Xingyin it’s a political alliance, to strengthen their ties with the Phoenix Kingdom. It doesn’t even sound like he protested this?! I know he’s a prince and has duties, but what about love, WHAT ABOUT XINGYIN?
Even WORSE, when Xingyin says she has to leave, he has the audacity to say he will always have a place for her, when he’s marrying another? I’m with Xingyin on this one, does he expect her to tend to his future wife and children?
It looks like Xingyin has made her decision, it looks as though she’ll take up General Jianyun’s offer to join the army. Poor Xingyin.
Xingyin HAS joined the army and we’re joining her as she’s tasked with slaying Xiangliu, the nine-headed serpent… sounds easy. When she joined the army her terms were that she has no rank and has the ability to choose her own campaigns… is she trying to gain the Crimson Lion Talisman?
So, here we are, Captain Wenzhi telling Xingyin that Xiangliu can only be shot down with an arrow through the eyes in his fifth head but only when they’re OPEN. Sounds simple enough. OH and looking into its eyes can paralyse you. Is it too late for Xingyin to pull out of the army?
Unsurprisingly, strong and determined Xingyin, takes down the nine-headed serpent. Captain Wenzhi helps Xingyin with her wounds (wonder if he can heal her broken heart) and then… they find a hoard of Xiangliu’s treasures! I’d take as much as I could carry but Xingyin only wants a bangle to gift Shuxiao. Wenzhi gives her a very strong bow called the Jade Dragon Bow, that shoots Sky-fire, and gives it to Xingyin for “safe keeping”
Xingyin awakens to a voice… Liwei! He says he wanted to check she was ok and unharmed. Is it just me that feels this is kind of cruel? He’s the one that agreed to a betrothal and expected Xingyin to stay around. I know he cares for her but he needs to let her go so that her heart can heal!
Liwei healed her as she slept, another overstep I think. He seems jealous of Wenzhi? A bit rich considering he’s betrothed to another. Liwei tells her the betrothal gifts have been exchanged but he hopes the ceremony won’t be for years and maybe then things will be different… Surely he can’t expect Xingyin to linger around for years hoping things might be different and she can get a chance with Liwei again? The audacity!
Suddenly Captain Wenzhi is at the door, concerned as the healer was sent away before she could attend to Xingyin, and then he discovers Liwei healed her. Wenzhi obviously knows something regarding their relationship, since he was the one to provide Xingyin comfort and hold her hand when it came out that Liwei was betrothed.
He asks her to join him on his next campaign, as there might be an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the Jade Dragon Bow (and a lil bit more about each other AM I RIGHT *wink wink*) and Xingyin says she’ll consider it.
Damn, Shuxiao’s here now! Can an injured Xingyin get a moment’s peace? Shuxiao’s hinting that Wenzhi might be giving Xingyin a bit of special treatment. Does he have a crush on her? There are rumours that there’s something between them, is this why Liwei wanted to check on her? Jealousy?
We leave Xingyin as she falls asleep on the rooftop, under the light of the moon and dreams of being with her mother again.
So much happened in this section, I have so many feelings!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll catch up with you all tomorrow for day three!