The Jade Emperor sits on the throne, located in the heart of the Jade Palace. In his hand, he holds a jade scepter, through which he governs the three realms: the Heavens, the Earthen Realm, and the Under Realm.
In ancient times, he, along with his brother, managed to ascend to the Heavens and earned the respect of the gods. As a sign of recognition, the gods bestowed upon the Emperor the jade scepter, while his brother, the long-haired Yanwang Umma-ö, gained a rare power from the gods—the ability to travel to and from the Underworld at will.
The Emperor appointed his brother as the ruler of the nine thousand worlds hidden in the Under Realm, while he himself indulged in the courtly life. Order and tranquility reigned in all three realms, pleasing the gods whom the Jade Emperor would host lavish celebrations for in his palace.
As the old proverb goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. The Jade Emperor, who yearned most of all to reach the Heavens, found himself longing for his former life on Earth after his wish was granted.
Although the celestials could visit the Earthen Realm, earthly pleasures were inaccessible to them. It was because renouncing earthly pleasures was precisely what was required to attain immortality. However, the Jade Emperor desired to return to the Middle Realm without sacrificing either immortality or the power bestowed upon him by the gods. Thus, he began devising various methods to achieve this.
If you want to know what method came to the Jade Emperor’s mind and what came out of it, read the separate story titled ‘Wang Leizu and the Vase of Heavenly Porcelain.’
The gods, their servants, and other celestials collected gifts for the Jade Emperor. The Emperor himself circled the Heavens on a red dragon that was seven times the size of the one that carried Xiwanmu’s palanquin, and could fit not one but five such palanquins upon its back. The Jade Emperor was accompanied by four Great Heavenly Kings, without whom he did not leave the palace: Tamon-ten, Jocho-ten, Jikoku-ten, and Komoku-ten.
The younger brother of the Jade Emperor, the mighty Yanwang Umma-ö, rode around on his horse and, as soon as he spotted the goddess Xiwanmu on the horizon of the Heavens, he immediately went to her.