Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 43 – Promise of the Peerless
Zhan Bei Ye’s large laugh had yet to echo out in the middle of the palace gates, before Yan Jingchen’s face had already started to turn ashen layer by layer.
He tightly clenched his fingers, twisting them as if he wanted to clench out the sweat in his palms. Even the veins in his temples were bulgingly jumping out. In his eyes appeared blood vessels like a web, horizontal and vertical, like freakish ropes that wanted to tie up his beloved yet unobtainable girl.
Opposite him, however, that girl raised her head towards the sky. Her jaw line carved out a resolute yet disdainful arc in the fire light. Behind her Zhan Bei Ye curled his mouth in a cold smile, while Yun Hen’s eyes were deep and chilly – no one was willing to give him more than a glance.
There was only Pei Yuan, clutching on Zhan Bei Ye’s unmoving hand while weakly struggling, who used furious and despairing eyes to fixedly stare at her fiancé. When she thrashed her neck bones gave out low ge ge noises; traveling out in this moment of suffocating silence, when thousands of soldiers had their weapons unsheathed as if they were facing a great enemy, the sound made one’s heart grow cold.
Yan Jingchen avoided this grieved, indignant, and almost insane glare, staring at Meng Fuyao full of hope. However, after what seemed like a very long time, he finally slowly loosened his clenched fingers.
In his palms, the crescent-shaped wounds pierced by his fingernails immediately began to slowly ooze out blood, and then was diluted by sweat into a light red color. Drop by drop it silently landed onto the dark rock floor surface and faded away from sight.
In Yan Jingchen’s eyes gradually surfaced a breaking cauldrons and sinking boats kind of splitting murderous intent.
After a while, he severely shouted, “Go —-”
The rest of his words had not yet been said, when suddenly a huge earthquake came with a crashing sound. The surroundings shook and vibrated with a buzz, as if some kind of heavy object had collided with the yellow bronze palace gate, impacting it so hard that the gate body slightly trembled.
The sound was dull and low, almost like flesh slamming on a solid object. In a short while, from the black stone gate threshold slowly flowed out fresh blood, meandering and twisting like a snake as it trickled in towards the inside of the gate.
Everyone instinctively lowered their heads to stare at that fresh blood creeping towards their feet. It clearly wasn’t a large volume, yet it made one looking at it suddenly feel their hearts grow cold, as if something out of their expectations had happened. Horrifying, bitterly chilling, hot blood splashing, in an instant it stifled one’s breath.
In the darkness countless pairs of eyes flashed, turning towards that impacted palace gate.
After some time, there was another huge sound, and at the same time the sound of shouting and close combat with weapons traveled over. The bloody smell shot up to the cloudy skies, in mid-air soaring into a pink-colored blood mist, while someone yelled:
“Those who block me shall die!”
Someone horribly screamed:
“Ah! It’s the palace guards! ——–“
Human shouts, horse whinnies, and tragic cries accompanied the fire light in soaring up. Layer after layer of black smoke mixed with the sticky scent of blood passed over the tall palace gate, drifting into the noses of the people on this side of the gate. Sounds of human bodies slamming onto the gate came unendingly, after which were the sounds of things flying and colliding in all directions – most likely scatteredly flying limbs that also impacted and fell on the palace gate.
It could be imagined that tomorrow, on every one of the massive bronze nails on the palace gate, would be hung full of pieces and strands of flesh and blood; using the most genuine color of blood to remember this night’s Tai Yuan imperial city massacre amidst chaos and fire.
At this moment, the cacophony outside blazed like boiling porridge, while the murderous stillness inside was silent like death.
The Crown Prince had not only escaped the birthday feast’s assassin, he had even safely exited the imperial palace, finally right before Shu hour rushing to the city guard camp stationed inside the capital. Marching over the bloody trail that Fang Minghe’s large army had killed through just a half-hour ago, they charged over yet again.
In the stretch of silence a galloping sound suddenly traveled over. It was Yuan Zhaoxu riding a horse and rushing over, his robes scatteredly flying, his posture in this kind of urgent moment still calm. His voice was not loud, yet it clearly arrived in every person’s ears.
“Open the gates!”
“Are you mad!” Yan Jingchen turned his head aghast. “Opening the gates now, means we die!”
Yuan Zhaoxu raised his head, lightly smiling. He twisted the reins over and over in his fingers, actually with an attitude of not wanting to talk with that person. It was instead Zhan Bei Ye who suddenly gave a loud laugh saying, “Only if you don’t open them are you a fool. Eighty thousand readied city guards versus fifty thousand unprepared capital soldiers, together stuffed inside that plaza, who will beat who? If you open the gates and gather this side’s soldiers and firearm unit that is another portion of power, then lead the battle inside the palace. Crowds of people cannot spread out inside the passages, and the city guards’ many weapons and formations won’t be able to be used. Plus the fact they are not as familiar with the terrain, once the time for victory or defeat arrives, who can anticipate the outcome?”
He then turned his head to look at Yuan Zhaoxu, his thick eyebrows rising as he said, “You are a talented man, this Prince hopes that one day I can have an deciding match with you on the battlefield, and brutally pummel you!”
“That is my wish as well.” Yuan Zhaoxu raised his hand, his smile mellow.
The two people’s gazes collided in mid-air, and a faint clashing actually sounded in the air. From the skies above suddenly gusted winds and storms, with lightning like snakes dancing out of the horizon. In the distance traveled over muffled thundering sounds, each sound approaching closer to the world.
The blood-iron promise belonging to peerless characters, destined to change the Five Regions Continent territorial map, was inevitable and unbreakable, causing heavenly signs to descend.
After their eyes fiercely collided again, the two people successively turned their backs and walked away. Zhan Bei Ye let out a long laugh, between his eyebrows flowing out combative will and fighting spirit. In Yuan Zhaoxu’s bosom, suddenly poked out a snow white ball of fat. The chubby ball climbed up Yuan Zhaoxu’s shoulder with deng deng deng sounds and used great effort to stick up its butt, letting out a puff of gas towards that arrogant junior who actually dared to provoke its master.
The palace gate finally began to roll open.
Meng Fuyao stared at that slowly opening gate, even herself feeling that it was very lucky and miraculous. It was obvious the two people had foolishly chased in the wrong direction, while their intention to hijack Qi Xunyi and escape through the palace gates was foiled by Yuan Zhaoxu; seeing the heavily stacked guards of the three gates, they were almost completely out of hope. Unexpectedly the other detachment of troops suddenly arrived, and their daring act of burning the palace finally received the proper dues, saving their lives.
The palace gate opened. Zhan Bei Ye lowered his head to take a look at the Pei Yuan whose throat he was clasping. Frowning he said, “I really want to kill you, but murdering a defenseless woman like this … ai, this thing, this Prince cannot do.”
He turned his head to seek help from Yun Hen. Yun Hen gave him a glance, then turned away.
Zhan Bei Ye was helpless, muttering, “However, this Prince feels that letting you live would actually be a life worse than death. This way is better.” He released his hand, throwing Pei Yuan away. Pei Yuan’s body fell in mid-air like a fallen leaf; she had not yet landed on the ground when Zhan Bei Ye suddenly unsheathed his sword, and a sword light flashed.
With a miserable cry, fresh blood pierced out from Pei Yuan’s shoulder like a thin sword, shooting onto the face of Yan Jingchen who was subconsciously going forward to catch her.
A neat bloody hole appeared on Pei Yuan’s left shoulder, with the flesh and blood within vanishing completely.
Her scapula bone, was pierced through by Zhan Bei Ye.
“The second hole!” Zhan Bei Ye grimly shouted. His black hair drifted and his eyes were piercingly sharp. “There are eight more!”
The heartless Meng Fuyao didn’t know about that ten wound promise, only laughingly watching while crossing her arms. She said, “Ai ya Sir Prince you sure are lewd.”
Prince Zhan was so angry his face immediately darkened.
- Breaking cauldrons and sinking boats: cutting off all retreat, burning bridges.
- The eighty thousand troops subordinate to the Crown Prince outside the imperial palace (stationed in the capital city Yanjing). NOTE: The Imperial Palace (or imperial city) is what the Emperor’s palace is called, similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing. The capital city (Yanjing), is the city that surrounds the palace and is similar to Beijing. Palace guards controlled by the Crown Prince, capital city troops controlled by Fang Minghe.
- Imperial City gates are often full of bronze “nails” or “knobs”. Picture:
- Shu hour, 戍时, 19:00 – 21:00 (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)