Author's Note: Feng Huang is equivalent to Phoenix and is the female counterpart to the male dragon.
Empress Sun Lian found herself cringing at the searing pain between her shoulder blades. What a confoundedly stupid idea! It had all started with the innocent admiration of the anatomy of beloved Imperial champion Furious Ming. As she had been closer to him than any other female in the Empire she frequently found herself admiring the god's handiwork, Ming was the pinnacle of male perfection. Every muscle was perfectly sculpted and taught beneath his silky smooth skin; every body part designed for absolute perfection, stifling a giggle the Empress fondly remembered how this perfect body stimulated changes in her own anatomy. This admiration of course led to the excruciatingly exciting experience of producing a royal heir, afterwards as they both drifted in and out of sleep Lian found admiring Ming's massive dragon tattoo.
It must have been his slow breathing, the long, leisurely inhalation followed shortly thereafter by an equally relaxed exhalation, it possessed a potent relaxing effect. The Empress found herself open to anything when she was awake just to hear her beloved's breathing. It was then that an idea infected the Empress' mind. The Dragon, the perfect symbol for Ming; masculine, strong, virile, honorable; everything about him that had captured her heart and that of the Empire was exemplified by the animal he wore on his back. In fact it would be no surprise to the Empress to learn that her beloved was a dragon in a previous life or was to be one in his next. The dragon represented Ming perfectly, just as she complemented him perfectly. She was feminine, beautiful, regal and honorable as her champion, he was a dragon and she was his Feng Huang. They were two celestial companions glorifying each other's heavenly being. As the Empress was caught in the glow of this thought she sound found it perverted into a bad idea. The tattoo, Ming had it prominently featured on his body which only fueled her attraction to him. Would it not also be just as wise to have the celestial partner of the dragon, the Feng Huang tattooed on her own back so as to equally impress Ming and remind him of why he loved her?
Raising from their bed the Empress quickly dressed and exited the apartment to find servants to relay the request. It was simply this, find the best artist in the Empire and keep it quiet, the Empress did not want idle gossip in the court. She quickly returned to Ming who was beginning to stir, unable to suppress a giggle she told him that she would soon have a surprise for him, he need only wait and see. Piqued Ming pressed her for answers but she playfully remained silent. The tension between the two threatened to bring an encore of their recent activity before the chattering of a servant forewarned the Empress that there was a minor emergency to attend to, duty called and the two were temporarily separated.
Later in the week the Empress' artist was ready in the Imperial City waiting for the presence of his patron. Entertaining the guise of Silk Fox the Empress entered the studio to be faced with a man so heavily inked that his sleeveless shirt made no difference, the skin of his arms was still not visible. "Look lady" he began, "you got loads of silver so you must really want this but, I've got to tell you in the length of time you've given me to this it is going to hurt like hell. I would try dissuading you from doing it all at once but again with the money your putting up there is no arguing. All I can say is take this special opium tea drink before we start and you won't feel a thing until after you wake up." The princess readily took the artist's advice and consumed opium tea and soon found herself slumbering as the artist began his work.
Only to be awoken by the realization that her back was on fire! Waking up with a gasp she found herself being guided by attendants back to a flier to return to the palace. "Princess, do not forget to use this ointment that that man gave" the attendant said very innocently. The Empress of course did not hear this; she was in too much pain to bother. Was this ever a damned idea! Of course it had worked, the Heavenly Bird was now emblazoned on her body forever, but it hurt as is she was being trampled by a horse demon! Damn it, where was a bed of ice she could lay on, anything to sooth this searing pain! "Wine! I need wine and lots of it!" The Silk Fox, not the Empress snapped, "Now!" of course she was still afforded the dignity of her royal station as her servant immediately obeyed.
Two days later the pain had dulled to discomfort and a sheepish Ming found himself comforting his love. "You did not have to do that, you are beautiful just the way you are." To which she answered "I know that, it's just… when you're asleep and I'm admiring your dragon tattoo it just reminded me of why I love you so much, I just wanted to do something to my own body that you could admire just as much." Ming sighed "Your body is already perfect" he said, "and as something of an expert on getting tattoos I must say it's best to get it done a little at a time so as not to be in excruciating pain." He smiled ruefully, :I'm just glad that you are feeling normal again, by tomorrow that pain should be all gone." The Empress found herself returning the sigh, "Thank the Great Dragon, I don't think Hell could have been a more severe punishment."
Hence is the story of how Empress Sun Lian came to be the carrier of regal Queen of the Birds, Feng Huang. In fact it is said among some scholars that the stars in the sky that make the Feng Huang are said to be the reincarnation of the Jade Empress herself, come to stay forever near her love and warrior, Furious Ming who's dragon constellation lies next to the Feng Huang in the sky.