"Come to Guwang's side! I won't eat you, what are you afraid of?"
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
Three shichen later, inside Ahfang Palace.
The troops and generals that had withdrawn from Chang'an had already quarreled so loudly that they could overturn heaven. This change of circumstances had struck the capital very suddenly. The emperor had fallen into Wang Ziye's hands, and now, he was holding both Fu Jian and Princess Qinghe hostage —— this kind of matter that would leave people feeling dumbstruck was simply unheard of.
In the main hall of Ahfang Palace, Fu Rong, Murong Chui, Yao Chang, and Fu Jian's son Fu Pi were having an intense dispute, while the soldiers and horses that had pulled out from Chang'an had already stationed themselves outside. Fu Jian's appointed crown prince, his elder cousin's eldest son, wasn't in Chang'an at this moment, and this sudden incident had made all of the generals seem like a pack of dragons without a head; they didn't know who to listen to at this moment.
"Where's Tuoba Yan?!" Murong Chui was furious. "The commander of the Forbidden Army has unexpectedly turned a deaf ear with this incident and even His Majesty was captured! He must be beheaded in order to wash away his sin!"
Fu Pi said, "It was His Majesty who ordered him to lead the army to calm the chaos, how could he have known that he was a sorcerer? I told you a Han is never a good thing!"
A group of Han officials stood inside the hall, and the scene was complete chaos. Wang Ziye had always been Fu Jian's trusted aide, so who could've imagined that this was a rebellion incited by him? After Wang Meng's death, the Qin court had always looked up to Wang Ziye as its head. It was fortunate that nothing had happened to Fu Jian, but still, the entire court was thrown into chaos at this moment.
When they were still quarreling, footsteps were heard from outside the hall.
"The Great Chanyu has arrived——" said a eunuch in a loud voice.
The hall was filled with silence. Xiang Shu's whole body was covered in blood, and when he came in, he threw down his helmet to the ground with a "dang." Still in full armor, he walked past the people in front of the hall, climbing up the stairs step-by-step and sitting down on the imperial throne of Ahfang Palace.
Xiang Shu: "Talk ba. Report the situation."
In an instant, the people of the Qin court realized a critical problem. Fu Jian had been captured, but coincidentally, Shulü Kong was in Chang'an. Nominally speaking, this guy was the Great Chanyu of the Hus, and the Han people were not obliged to listen to him. But, according to reason, as long as one's ancestors had participated in the blood oath of the Chi Le Ancient Covenant, they all must obey him. At this time, Xiang Shu could totally replace Fu Jian to exercise the responsibility of the emperor for the time being.
"What?" Xiang Shu said in a deep voice. "Do you have any objection?"
Everyone shot a "I look at you, you look at me" glance at each other. Fu Rong was clear about Xiang Shu and Fu Jian's relationship; when it came to coveting Fu Jian's throne and title, Xiang Shu was unlikely to go as far as even thinking about it. Thus, he stepped forward and said, "Reporting to the Great Chanyu, the entire army has been completely pulled back, while the common people inside the city have also been helped to settle down in the west bank of the Zao River."
"Where's the crown prince?" questioned Xiang Shu.
"We've already dispatched someone to go as fast as possible to Donghai to inform him," said Yao Chang as he stepped up and bowed down.
Xiang Shu asked again, "Where's Murong Chong?"
Murong Chui just mused silently on it. Xiang Shu frowned and asked, "Murong Chui, you don't know how to speak?"
At this, Murong Chui had no alternative but to step forward and reply, "Murong Chong is on his way. I think he should arrive by tomorrow evening."
Though Xiang Shu could perceive that something was amiss from this momentary hesitation, he pressed no further. This unforeseen event had only occurred last night, and Murong Chong rushing over from Pingyang would take about three days at the earliest, so most likely, someone must've notified him in advance during this one-day delay. At that time, the drought field chaos had yet to happen. As such, the Murong family must have been informed in advance —— it wasn't hard to guess what they wanted to do.
"Murong Chui, lead the troops and guard the four gates of Chang'an," Xiang Shu said. "Make sure not to let those living corpses escape."
"Yes," Murong Chui replied.
Xiang Shu continued, "Yao Chang and Fu Rong, reorganize the army. Wait for Guwang's order and until after Wang Ziye has been executed, then force your way through from the South, West, and North Gate. Storm the Imperial City from three directions to leave them with one exit. When the drought fiends have been driven away to the Zao River's plains, prepare for a decisive battle."
"Yes," the remaining people replied.
Xiang Shu: "The rest of you, prepare the coal oil and throwing mechanism inside Ahfang Palace to form a defense perimeter. Wait for Murong Chong's reinforcements- Are you done?"
Chen Xing came in, his hand holding a piece of cloth covered in blood as he gasped for breath, tired.
"Go take a break," Xiang Shu said.
Chen Xing waved his hands and replied, "Once I've finished talking, I'll go. Everyone-daren..."
Chen Xing turned toward the crowd before looking at Xiang Shu again, slightly hesitating.
"Do you really want to tell them?" he confirmed.
Xiang Shu frowned impatiently. "Since I let you talk, just say it."
Chen Xing could only recount the whole course of events. The hall was in absolute silence. After he had finished talking, Chen Xing suddenly remembered a fairly important matter.
"Princess Qinghe, she..." After hearing the inside story, Yao Chang simply became alarmed and looked at Murong Chui, whose face had already darkened as he said, "This is slander! Where's the proof?!"
"Guwang is the witness," Xiang Shu said indifferently, "If you don't believe it, wait until after Qinghe is rescued, and you can comfort her face-to-face then. Only, Jiantou must've also been well aware of this matter already."
"This..." At once, Fu Rong realized that this major affair wouldn’t be good at all. Wasn't this just forcing Murong Chui out? This was no small matter; if he clarified Wang Ziye's arrangement, it was tantamount to telling everyone that Princess Qinghe had also participated in the conspiracy to restore the country, and the Murong family wouldn't be able to escape the blame. Although most people inside the court already believed that the Murong family had the intention to plot a rebellion, once this fact came out, what other options would Murong Chui have?
After listening, Xiang Shu waved his hand at Chen Xing, signaling for him to come over.
Chen Xing walked to the bottom of the steps.
Xiang Shu said, "Come closer."
Chen Xing: "???"
Chen Xing thus climbed up one step.
"Come to Guwang's side!" Xiang Shu impatiently said, "I won't eat you, what are you afraid of?"
All officials inside the hall were looking at Murong Chui's face. For a moment, they didn't know what he would decide. Would he draw out his sword on the spot and throw it to the ground before shouting "Laozi is rebelling!" then rush out to start the mutiny? Or would he kneel down and plead his guilt to this Great Chanyu who was currently exercising his right as the emperor of the dynasty? Yet Xiang Shu was not in the least aware of the situation and was instead exchanging flirting glances with this Han person inside the hall.
What on earth was this all about?
"Oh... Oh." Chen Xing came over to Xiang Shu's side.
Impatiently, Xiang Shu grabbed Chen Xing's hand and showed the officials the ring on his finger.
"Do you recognize this signet ring?" Xiang Shu said, still irritated.
Everyone lowered their heads one by one.
"With Guwang's authority as the Great Chanyu to exempt people from punishment," Xiang Shu said, "Guwang grants a special pardon to Princess Qinghe of the Murong clan."
All of the court officials present simultaneously let out a sigh of relief, and in that brief moment, there wasn't enough time to wonder why a Han man was wearing the Great Chanyu's ring. Thank god, this way, they had all just been spared from internal strife.
"Furthermore, Guwang grants a special pardon to the Feng family's Feng Qianyi," Xiang Shu added. "These two people's crime of conspiring to rebel will be written off once and for all. After this, both must not be investigated and interrogated anymore, and no one is allowed to start a rumor or provoke a dispute with them; if this is not followed, that will be a violation against the Chi Le Covenant, and all of the Hus will jointly condemn them."
Chen Xing thought in his heart, The person who the rebellion was plotted against isn't you. When Fu Jian comes out later, I think he's going to die from excess anger because of you. Anyway, forget it, he deserves his bad luck.
This way, apart from the mastermind Wang Ziye, the Feng family and Princess Qinghe were all safe. Everyone knew that there was also no middle ground out of this; once this case was investigated, it would only force the Murong clan out.
Chen Xing couldn't help but take a peek at Xiang Shu whose body was covered in black blood and dirty armor with a hint of admiration in his eyes as he thought to himself, Looks like it's also not wrong for this guy to be the emperor ma.
Xiang Shu then said, "That's it, disperse. Anywhere else you want to go?"
"I'm going to see Tuoba Yan," Chen Xing replied. "He's injured."
"I'll go with you." Xiang Shu rose from the emperor's throne and walked in front of the crowd, leaving the hall with him.
In the evening that day. Tuoba Yan was lying inside the room while Xie An, Xiao Shan, and Feng Qianjun were watching closely on the side. Xiao Shan was still holding Chen Xing's dog in his hands.
Lying down on the other couch was the still unconscious Feng Qianyi.
Tuoba Yan's stomach, which had been cut open by the drought fiend king, had a bloody hole from below the ribs to the navel area. Xiao Shan helped to press on his wound while Chen Xing stitched him up. When it was done, Chen Xing's hands were covered in blood, and he had a dizzy spell.
Xiang Shu watched from the sidelines. Fortunately, the injury wasn't that serious, but there was a faint black qi coming out of the wound. However, Chen Xing's hand was emitting the light from the Heart Lamp as he stopped his bleeding and stitched up the wound wherever he went. Under the Heart Lamp, the resentment dissipated on its own, and the pitch-black cut also gradually returned to its normal dark-red.
"All right." Chen Xing then asked Tuoba Yan to take a pill to improve blood circulation and regrow flesh, saying, "You go take a good rest. You must not move around unnecessarily."
Tuoba Yan, whose face was drained of any color and still extremely weak, fell into a deep sleep on the couch.
Chen Xing wiped his sweat. He didn't know the number of patients he had looked over today. Since arriving in Ahfang Palace, he had been rushing around without stopping all over the camp to check up on all officers, soldiers, as well as common people who had gotten injured because they were bitten by the drought fiends.
Fortunately, after the drought fiends were let out this time, they had immediately gathered in front of the imperial palace and didn't attack mortals all over the place. As soon as the people of Chang'an saw those monsters, they ran away at once. Moreover, the army was also pulled back immediately.
There was only Tuoba Yan leading the Forbidden Army. Not fearing for his life, he had attacked the imperial palace in order to get Fu Jian back, resulting in him getting seriously injured. Other people, such as the private troops of the Murong clan, almost all of them had withdrawn as soon as they could and fled faster than anyone else —— even Fu Rong had rushed to save his own life.
"Still so stubborn." Chen Xing felt helpless. "Sometimes, Tuoba Yan is just like a fool."
"How many people have you treated?" Xie An asked. "Little Shidi, you also go take a rest ba."
Chen Xing was indeed very tired. The Revival of All Magic had indeed supplied a plentiful amount of spiritual qi for the Heart Lamp, however, compared to before, it also consumed more of his mental constitution. Wiping his sweat and sitting on the edge of the couch, he said, "Yes, I should rest for a moment. Very tired, truly very tired."
Saying so, he patted the puppy and leaned against Xiang Shu, and actually fell asleep while sitting just like that.
Xiang Shu: "......"
And so, everyone just sat in the room while looking at each other.
"That..." After he had finished attending to his elder brother, Feng Qianjun said, "Let me introduce you ba. This person is... Little Xiongdi Xiao Shan, our old friend who is also here to exorcise devils."
Xiao Shan: "?"
Feng Qianjun continuously winked at Xiao Shan. Puzzled, Xiao Shan threw a questioning look at Xie An before looking back at Feng Qianjun who was fiercely squeezing his eye now. Xiao Shan didn't really get it but still nodded.
Xie An, however, had already seen that Xiang Shu didn't remember the past events. He nodded and said, "I'm called Xie Anshi."
Xiang Shu's expression clearly indicated that he was feeling some déjà vu with these two people. It was just, he couldn't seem to remember where he had seen them at all before, and thus, he could only say, "Since you're all Chen Xing's old friends, you may retreat ba. Go and settle down anywhere you please, just say it's my order. Let Chen Xing have a rest first." But on second thoughts, he felt it wasn't right either, since there were also Tuoba Yan and Feng Qianyi in the room. And so, he princess-carried Chen Xing and personally looked for a place to settle him down.
After Xiang Shu left, Feng Qianjun, Xie An, and Xiao Shan started to exchange information. Feng Qianjun said, "Up until this moment, I'm still afraid that this is just a dream, but it shouldn't be.. I heard that before people died, unsettled matters during their life would all be replayed like a moving shadow lantern. You see, whether it's you or Xiao Shan, Fu Jian, my Dage, or Tuoba Yan, I have seen you all before.
"This scene." Feng Qianjun was full of doubts as he motioned for Xie An to look around the imperial palace. "Do you think it looks like a moving shadow lantern?"
Xie An said, "Qianjun, you're just tired and light-headed, take a rest and you'll be fine. I was also skeptical about it, but haven't you discovered yet? There is one thing that proves we're not currently dreaming, but indeed have gone back to three years ago."
Xiao Shan: "?"
Xie An gave out a cunning smile. "That phoenix, have you seen its human form? As a yao king, it must have a human form, right? Even if there was no human form, you've seen the phoenix, right? Do you know what a phoenix looks like? The phoenix we saw, is it the same as what you imagined?"
Xie An caused Feng Qianjun to have a sudden realization. Indeed, if this was just a figment of his imagination that he had before death, it could only be a repetition of the past events in his life. All of the flashbacks should have people in his memory, and their appearances might be blurred with age. Except, they had indeed never seen what the phoenix looked like before!
"I've seen his human form!" Feng Qianjun could finally be certain that this wasn't an illusion.
Nodding, Xie An then said, "This time, Wang Ziye obtained the Acala Blade before us, which actually complicated things. We have to find a way to retrieve it back and return it to Martial God's hands so we can break the final piece in the Battle of the Fei River."
Feng Qianjun had heard Chen Xing talking about the altar on the battlefield. He thoughtfully said, "Only Xiang-xiongdi knows the entrance to the Huanmo Palace. How could he, out of all people, forget all about this?"
Xie An said, "It won't be a hindrance. I made arrangements before I came here, ordering people to go to the Fei River to dig into the ground within several li radius of the battlefield. As long as we have the patience to dig for two or three years, we'll totally be able to dig it out."
Not expecting that there was also this kind of stupid method, Feng Qianjun just nodded his head.
Xiao Shan added, "Wait until we go back to save Lu Ying. Lu Ying said he might have some ways that could help Chen Xing."
The scenery inside the garden was like that of a painting. In the summer, greenish-blue color filled the courtyard, and wind chimes on the corridor gently chimed as they were tossed about by the wind. This garden and Chang'an, which had resentment soaring all around, seemed to be separated by the wall, successfully turning it into utopia on earth.
Chen Xing slept until the sky turned murky, and the earth went dim. He rose up from one side of the couch and let out a yawn.
"I thought you wouldn't wake up." Xiang Shu was currently sitting in the outer room. Dressed only in his undergarments, he was playing the qin while facing the courtyard, which glittered in the sunshine and made for a painting-like, beautiful scenery.
Chen Xing suddenly became alarmed. "How long have I been sleeping? Where's this?"
Chen Xing himself was even a little afraid. He thought about the previous time that had lasted for three months. Could it be that things have once again moved in an uncontrollable direction? Chang'an has already fallen, and they've arrived in Jiangnan?!
"One night," replied Xiang Shu. "We're still in Ahfang Palace. Feng Qianyi and the dog have been sent off ahead, as to avoid Jiantou trying to settle the debts once he returns."
As soon as he woke up, Chen Xing was almost scared into collapsing again. Fortunately, fortunately, I was just too tired.
"You saved more than a thousand people?" Xiang Shu said in disbelief.
On that day, as they withdrew to Ahfang Palace, Chen Xing had seen that those common people and the Forbidden Army's troops were either scratched or bitten, so he stayed behind in order to dispel their resentment. Unknowingly, he had actually treated some thousand people then. What pleased him the most was the fact that the Heart Lamp, after the Revival of All Magic, had been able to cleanse the wound of those injured with the support of the power of the spiritual qi of heaven and earth. That is to say, there was no need to fear that someone's corpse would transform anymore.
Chen Xing's expression was at a loss as he was also unsure. "Now what? What do we do now?"
"Great Chanyu," several imperial guards came over and said, "your armor."
Thus, Xiang Shu set aside the qin and got up, saying, "Your Shixiong volunteered to go ahead in order to hinder Wang Ziye. Feng Qianjun also wished to rescue Princess Qinghe."
Chen Xing said, "This matter is definitely much more serious than they think. We have to discuss it thoroughly first."
Now, Wang Ziye had occupied the imperial palace and held both Fu Jian and Princess Qinghe as hostages. While Xiang Shu had 100,000 troops in his hands surrounding Chang'an, he was actually at his wits' end. He had to rescue the hostages first and let Fu Jian himself deal with the rest however he liked.
Xiang Shu looked at Chen Xing and became at a loss for words all of a sudden.
"What?" Chen Xing asked.
The space between Xiang Shu's eyebrows harbored some doubts, as if he were pondering about something. However, he just shook his head after that while saying, "Nothing."
Chen Xing: "???"
Chen Xing had his suspicions that Xiang Shu might've remembered something. In fact, from the moment he saw him again, Xiang Shu occasionally showed this kind of expression that looked as if he was immersed in memories.
After he finished changing his clothes, Chen Xing hurried to Ahfang Palace's platform. Together with the others, he gazed toward Chang'an and saw that Weiyang Palace, which stood several li away, was enveloped by a black dome covered by dense black clouds.
"It'll be very difficult." Chen Xing frowned. "That barrier is a defensive wall set up using the Acala Blade."
This defensive wall was also called "boundary" by the previous dynasty, and in order to utilize it, it relied on the power of the magical artifact itself. Wang Ziye used this defensive wall in order to: first, confine the abundant resentment inside, and second, block the mortals outside, making it impossible for them to enter.
The phoenix flew in and perched on the rooftop. "Do you need help?"
Xiang Shu: "Who's talking?"
"Not for now." Chen Xing also had an idea for his last wish, it was just, he couldn't use it up so easily like that. Thus, he explained to Xiang Shu, "This is a... errr, the yao king."
"Could you please transform into your human form so I can take a look?" Xie An politely asked.
"You have Chen Xing ask for that," the phoenix said. "I'll agree to whatever he says."
Xiang Shu: "......"
Xiang Shu examined the phoenix, a dangerous expression on his face. Chen Xing hurriedly explained, "It's not like what you think. Forget it, I'll explain it to you once we're free."
Tuoba Yan kept one hand on his wound and came over with much difficulty. Feng Qianjun quickly lent a hand to support him.
"I've tried," Tuoba Yan said. "It's extremely dangerous inside that black-colored wall, and there are also monsters guarding it."
"Wu..." Chen Xing frowned as he pondered about the matter, his mind moving at lightning speed thinking about how to dissolve that defensive wall. Today, no matter what happened, they had to expel Wang Ziye; they had tolerated him for far too long.
After a moment’s contemplation, Xie An said, "According to theory, as long as we violently attack this defensive wall until the resentment inside is all spent, it will naturally disintegrate."
"It's not that easy," Chen Xing said, "Zhang Liu had once used the Acala Blade to set up the boundary inside the Yin Yang Mirror. For hundreds of years, even Shi Hai couldn't break it."
"What is the Acala Blade?" Xiang Shu once again found that that name was seemingly familiar.
"It was supposed to be a sword that belongs to you," Chen Xing said. "But now it has fallen into Wang Ziye's hands."
Xie An said, "How did you both get in the last time?"
During their confrontation with Feng Qianyi the first time around, there had been no defensive wall in the Weiyang Palace. At that time, Chen Xing had gotten outside and inside of the palace with the help of the Yin Yang Mirror. But this time, the connecting mirror had been destroyed as well. It was truly a headache.
"Is there any way," Chen Xing pondered, "to cheat our way past this defensive wall and go inside to take Fu Jian and Princess Qinghe back ne? How did Wang Ziye cheat the Acala Blade and pick it up? There must be a way... There is! Where's Sima Wei? Quick! Get Sima Wei here!"
That evening, a group of people, just like before, had gathered in Mt. Song before they continuously moved to approach Weiyang Palace.
Xie An sighed. "Little Shidi is indeed very clever."
"Sssh." Chen Xing was super nervous as he looked at the location they were continuously moving toward, that black silhouette of Weiyang Palace at the end of the main street of Chang'an.
"I'm still not sure if this will work," Chen Xing whispered.
Xiang Shu said, "Once it crumbles later, Chen Xing and I will be in charge of Kjera, while you all handle the drought fiend army."
Chen Xing nodded before lifting his head to look at Xiang Shu who patted the back of his hand in return. The two then held each other's hand.
As Chen Xing's hand glowed in radiance, he channeled the light along his right hand's meridian and poured it into Xiang Shu's whole body until his heart meridian radiated a brilliant light.
"Get ahold of Wang Ziye's spear first," Chen Xing repeatedly warned. "The most important thing is to reclaim your divine weapon."
Xiang Shu nodded his head.
Sima Wei was carrying Feng Qianjun's Senluo Wanxiang on his back as he walked through the road, which was bustling with drought friends on both sides, toward the defensive wall. After passing through without any resistance, he went straight to the depths of Weiyang Palace.
A devil spear, its whole body pitch-black with resentment surging around it, was set up in the center of the balcony of Weiyang Palace. The glow on the spear's red-blood runes twinkled as it spread around circles after circles, similar to sea waves, to finally form that indestructible defensive array.
Wang Ziye stood in front of the platform with Fu Jian, who was currently surveying the scene of countless numbers of living dead inside the imperial palace from his location up above.
Wang Ziye: "The dead will never, ever, meet their demise in the human world. Look ba, Your Majesty, these officers and soldiers, before death, were for you to command, and after death, they will also fight for you."
The five drought fiend kings gathered around the side of the platform. Wang Ziye approached them, taking off the helmet of one of them before motioning to Fu Jian to have a look.
"What does Your Majesty think? During their life and after their death, are there any major differences?"
Fu Jian coldly said, "What sweet yet insincere words, Wang Ziye. You're merely trying to tempt Zhen to drink your poison so Zhen would become a living dead able to be controlled by you, that's all!"
Wang Ziye smiled. "Your Majesty, you might as well look at me first, then look at them. I've already possessed several thousand years' worth of life as I wandered around freely between heaven and earth. Do you think I am controlled by anyone?"
Fu Jian was stunned at once. Wang Ziye continued, "If a living person is forced to drink the devil's blood, that is not wrong; it will turn them into a muddle-headed walking corpse that no longer has their own consciousness. Only if you are most willing to dedicate your life to my lord, will he help you get an eternal life that is lacking death, and is free and unfettered as I am right now.
"Moreover, since your life is in my hands right now," Wang Ziye gave out a cold smile and he added, "why would I even bother saying this kind of nonsense to you?"
Princess Qinghe was on the side as she looked at Wang Ziye in bewilderment.
Wang Ziye: "As long as you nod your head, my lord will give you an army so great it will never run out, while also bestowing upon you a body that will not die."
#FeitianWeek2021 is coming!
10/05/2021: Since Zryuu’s currently very swamped with work, there won’t be any updates this week, we’ll resume next week. Thank you for your understanding T_T
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Elestrea.