This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 72: A Song and a Battle
For the Qin Dynasty of today, there were not many cultivators who could be described as a ‘great rebel’.
Such people did not just possess astounding cultivation, but also a great ability to wreck a stable dynasty. Born of great distinction, most were even prominent personalities of fallen dynasties.
In the last dozen days, the Divinity Bureau, through some leads, had found this cultivator who could be a ‘great rebel’. However, they could only observe in secret. They wanted to gather more clues from this cultivator and find the leader, the person His Majesty the Emperor was wary of!
The inexplicable appearance of the Changling guards, before the matter could advance decisively, did not bode well for the master and subordinate from Divinity Bureau.
Qin Xuan and Meng Tianfang exchanged a glance. Qin Xuan gritted his teeth, he had decided. “Report this to Official Qi in case anything changes.”
Meng Tianfang’s eyes flashed. He did not say anything and pretended to look as though he was terrified of the group of Changling Guards as he quickly made his way towards a small alley and left.
At this time, those Changling guards in their armor were charging forward and stopping the caravan that was just leaving the Jiujiang Meeting Hall. The captain at the front with a black metal mask shouted harshly. “Halt! All of you, get out! Prepare your household registries and writs!”
A thin middle-aged man in blue who looked like an advisor bowed and politely said, “Sir, what is the matter? Is there a misunderstanding? We are the Heaven Rising Chang Shop of the Jiujiang Commandery …”
Before he could finish, the soldier sent him flying with a kick. He smashed heavily onto the carriage behind him. Immediately, the man’s face paled. He was unable to breathe and almost fainted.
“Did you not hear me?! Household registries and writs!”
The soldier who had kicked the blue-robed advisor held the hilt of his sword. His black mask reflected the sunlight. “We suspect people in your group are related to tomb robbers. Everybody has to get off the carriage, and present their household registries and writs. If anyone resists, they will be killed on the spot!” he said, grimly.
Many, in the caravan, who were angry and wanted to curse, and even the people who had come out of the Jiujiang Commandery Meeting Hall froze right where they stood.
Robbing the tombs of the imperial house was a grave offense punished with nine familial exterminations. If someone was really present among them, anyone who spoke up for the caravan would be accused and imprisoned.
At this time, Qin Xuan, who was sitting on a bench by the street, felt a chill all over. He discovered that there was a stock-still Changling Guard captain standing in the shadows of a shop’s eaves not far behind these dozen vicious Changling Guards.
That Changling guard was extremely low-key and couldn’t compare to rival that metal-masked captain in terms of presence. However, Qin Xuan could clearly see that there was a white jade hairpin in his hair, and his scabbard was inlaid with dozens of carnelian beads.
This meant that this Changling guard standing silently in the shadows was a commandant.
This was an official rank one needed to kill a thousand armored soldiers to be rewarded with … this was a cultivator with at least realm five, or realm six cultivation!
When Qin Xuan thought of this, he was now more fearful at the sight of the man wearing the black metal mask. He had decided that this person did not seem like an ordinary company commander that led a hundred soldiers. He felt even colder, and the warmth from the hot soup was suppressed. Abruptly, he stood up.
Besieged by the dozen armored Changling guards, all the people in the caravan, now stepped out of the carriages. Each of them held a household registry and writs.
In the other dynasties, and even the Qin Dynasty before Emperor Yuanwu, the documents that were being inspected would be travel writs. They would have identity information, birth information, itinerary, and purpose of the visit. Along the way, the commanderies and districts would stamp the document. One look at the documents would confirm that this person had passed through those places.
But when Emperor Yuanwu ascended, the Qin Dynasty boldly started a new governance and changed many laws. In the many years after, countless battled the foul wind and bloody rain. But in the end, some of the new policies were decisively implemented.
The most affected was the system of registries.
At birth, details of every citizen of the Qin Dynasty would be recorded in the registries by the commandery districts. If they moved, they had to change the registries. The registries would be destroyed upon death, the conferred titles and lands rescinded.
The greatest effect of this was not to make it easier to confirm a person’s identity so the refugees and roving bandits couldn’t easily move through the Qin Dynasty, but for the implementation of taxes and titles. For example, through the retrieval of some fraudulent wages, and the return of lands that should have been returned the Qin Dynasty’s treasury, after many years, grew. This forced many of the enemy dynasties to form an alliance with the Qin.
“You are Zhou Chen? Where are you from?”
“What is your occupation?”
The Changling guards started to inspect the household registries and writs of the members of the caravan. They would randomly ask some questions to reaffirm.
Qin Xuan had picked up the yellow pole he had put on a chair next to him. After taking a step, his breathing completely stopped.
That masked commander was walking towards a person in the caravan.
This was a man dressed like a driver. He looked to be in his thirties and had slightly yellowed hair. While his features were very different from the person that the Divinity Bureau had been observing, his figure was similar. More importantly, based on Qin Xuan’s many years of experience, this carriage driver’s attire was troublesome.
He was being inspected by a Changling guard and was answering questions. However, his gaze kept on flashing, and his expression was mostly thoughtful and didn’t have the terror other people did.
Qin Xuan felt that this person was considering his next move should his identity be exposed. These reactions hadn’t escaped the masked commander, so he was walking towards the other. What caused Qin Xuan to stop breathing was the corners of that person’s lips were slightly raised as though a sneer was about to appear.
Qin Xuan was in no position to stop this because even if he stated his identity and charged over, he would alert the enemy. So he just gripped his yellow bamboo pole tightly and hoped that the reinforcements from the Divinity Bureau would come quickly.
“I think you are suspicious. What are you called?” the metal masked commander asked, grimly. He was already in front of the driver.
The driver rubbed his face, and lingered at his bearded chin for a breath. He seemed to have thought through and decided on something. He smiled inexplicably and looked challengingly at the commander. “You really want to know?”
A dangerous aura suddenly filled the entire alley. Even the other Changling guards who were intently inspecting other people, turned to look at this carriage driver.
The commander under the eaves in the shadows also lifted his head suddenly, his eyes bright.
The masked commander paused slightly and then laughed. “It seems it is you … I want to see what name can scare me in Changling.”
The driver laughed and showed white teeth. “You will know when you see my sword.”
When he said this, the air around him suddenly shook. Smoke rose from the cracks in the ground underneath him. Mist seemed to appear in this alley. At the same time, the carriages around him seemed to have turned into weightless paper, they flew outwards.
The metal masked commander started to pull out his sword in shock.
In this moment, the scene seemed to halt like a painting.
His sword was only half-drawn when the carriages flew up silently. Just as the wheels left the ground, the driver had finished swinging his hand forward. A stream of water seemed to sweep through the air, and pass over this commander from head to toe.
A thread of light suddenly appeared on the mask of this commander. Then the mask split apart. Underneath the mask was a shocked face. Then a red line appeared in the middle of this face.
“Cloud Water …”
The commander had, by now, pulled his sword when the carriage driver attacked. He shouted in shock and then a line of blood sprayed out. He was only able to shout two words.
In the next moment, the carriages that seemed to have frozen in the air collided heavily with the shops on the two sides of the alley. At the same time, the commander’s body split through the middle in two, and blood sprayed out into the cold air.
Only now did the surrounding Changling guards see that the carriage driver held a sword that rippled as though it was made from water.
“A great rebel of the Wei Cloud Water Palace!”
A shout of disbelief sounded.
This shout was said with vital energy. The sound immediately spread afar.
The commander originally under the eaves had let out this shout and then darted.A small pink sword flew in front of him. As it flew, the sword seemed to bloom with peach blossoms that spread into the surrounding space around the carriage driver.
But, in the face of the onslaught, the driver put away his sword. He placed his hands behind his back and flashed a proud smile..
One window on the Jiujiang Commandery Meeting Hall silently disappeared. It was crushed into powder by a vast pulse of primal energies of the universe.
A drop of water fell.
This one drop shattered all the peach flowers.
The pink sword was broken.
This commandant of the Changling Guard sat on the ground. He seemed to have lost inches off his height. Blood gushed from his mouth.
Qin Xuan raised his head in disbelief and looked up the Jiujiang Commandery Meeting Hall.
“My generation likes learning the sword, dwell by the cold pool for a decade …”
A soft call. A white figure floated down from the Jiujiang Commandery Meeting Hall.
All the color in the sky seemed to be obscured by this person. All eyes in the alley were looking up.
“Slay the serpent, the azure water crimson for three months …”
That person continued to sing. With a boom, the remaining dozen Changling Guards all sprayed blood, flying out and smashing into the buildings on the two sides.
Translator Ramblings: Ignore the lack of rhyme in the lyrics … I swear it sounds better in Chinese …
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