Right. I have read through Youmi Henjou 4, and some sections twice.
Here's how Okano works. We have one apparently crystal-clear sentence from the General: "My father is the Emperor."
Good. Only-- not good. Because the only Emperor we see is the one down on earth that Dragon Gem works for, who wants to capture an Immortal, presumably to extend his own life span. But Dragon Gem is the Great Western Mother's granddaughter. (Here's how Okano works 2: she tells us stuff, not in the story but in the character sketches. So I now sort of know who the Picture Immortal is too, no thanks to the story.) Dragon Gem's father has already Done It with an Immortal. Why does he need to find another one, if her father *is* the Chang'an Emperor? (I really should have bought that vol 1 that Bookoff had, because it *says* why the Emperor wants an Immortal.)
But again-- another apparently crystal-clear sentence: 'The only person more powerful than I is my father.' DG in hir other avatar as Weaving Maid was placed by hir father in a cottage hidden by mist, so se could weave the calendar of heaven and (IIRC) the Emperor's footstool. That kind of power sounds more like the Jade Emperor, surely. Maybe it is; maybe Okano expects us to automatically assume a distinction between Emperors Up and Emperors Down. But you remember how our little painting guy, an Immortal, falls off his self-painted cliff and back into the Emperor's presence, the one who's sending love letters to the Great Mother? Surely *that's* the Jade Emperor, the Western Mother's consort in later versions of the myth. But to my eye he looks exactly like the Chang'an Emperor.
To complicate matters, there's mention in the afterword of the King of the East appearing. (Sinus infection has prevented me from reading that closely, but whoever wrote it obviously believes the Eastern Father shows up somewhere in the story, and *not* the Jade Emperor.) This page says he's the Western Mother's consort and a mortal, but I'm not finding confirmation of this elsewhere. Not that Okano abides by canon ever, of course. I hate PDFs, but this useful one has a lot of Daoist background. It describes the earliest depictions of 東王公 as having a human face and the body and claws of a tiger with four tails. Well, the manga Western Mother isn't in her earliest form, for sure, but the more refined later one; so I expect her consort won't be a tiger either. But there *are* tigers aplenty in the manga, including the rug with 'King' on its forehead.
There's also the wrinkle of Dragon Gem = Weaver Maid (and yes, the oxherd shows up in YH4. So does a martial artist whom Dragon Gem trains. I think they're not supposed to be the same person only maybe they are, and maybe both of them is our Dork's previous incarnation.) Googling the story provides interesting reflection on the transmission of hypertexts, because the first ten sites repeat the same thing word for word.
But the first page I linked gives an interesting variation of the story:
An early folk-tale version of the story concerns Weaving Maid, a goddess whose task it is to weave the clouds across the sky. She falls in love with a mortal man, Oxherd, marries him, and bears him two children. She is so happy on Earth that she stops weaving the clouds, so her father, the God of Heaven, snatches her back to the skies. Oxherd, distraught, follows after her, carrying their two children. He reaches Heaven, but he cannot get across the Silver River that separates them. Only on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month can Weaving Maid cross over on the wings of all the magpies of the world, and thus husband and wife spend one night together every year.King of Heaven, not Great Western Mother.
That's all I can manage for the moment, because my head hurts. Weaving maids who become martial artists who stand on swords for 3,000 years, white tigers who are rugs who are a symbol of Dork who is a reincarnation I suppose of Grasshopper/ Flying Locust the martial artist in training who I suppose could be the avatar of the Herdsman who returns one of the weaver's shuttles to her.... I suppose it's not supposed to make sense.