This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 44: Spirit
Marquis Xu of Mount Heng looked at this messy-haired man dressed like a shaman. His thick brows unconsciously furrowed. He found this person slightly familiar to the eye, but could not immediately recall who he was.
“Since you managed to flee the capital of Han, then just be a shaman-doctor, why return?” With eyes full of disdain, Emperor Yuanwu looked at this barefoot and messy-haired man.
The object of disdain sighed emotionally. “I fled for this day.”
At once Marquis Xu reacted, he had recalled who this was.
The peak was in chaos. With these few words, there was no one who did not recognize this barefoot and messy-haired man.
This man had been recorded in the history books already.
He was Emperor Chen of Han.
Strictly speaking, he was an emperor. He was the imperial younger brother of Emperor Ai of the Han. He possessed the pure royal Han blood.
In the past, when Emperor Ai of the Han took the bait and moved the capital, leading to the dynasty’s downfall. Moments before his death, he decreed that his younger brother would be the next emperor. That younger brother was this barefoot man with messy hair.
However, not once had Emperor Chen of Han on the throne.
When Emperor Ai of the Han was dying, the Qin army was already at the city gates. The new Han capital, Luoyi, had been in chaos, splitting apart even before the Qin army attacked the city.
Besieged by the Qin Army and amidst the civil strife, Emperor Chen of the Han was said to have fled the city in a cart carrying dung and managed to escape with his life.
For an emperor, it was indeed a tragedy to not be on the throne for even a day, much less fleeing a city in a cart carrying human waste.
In the eyes of many Han people, it would have been better if Emperor Chen of Han had been killed when the city was seized. At least, this shameful matter wouldn’t have been recorded into history.
For an orthodox emperor of indubitable birth and legitimacy, the greatest of pain was that his people thought it was better he was dead.
As emperors, one was looked down upon by thousands, and the other beloved by thousands. So Emperor Yuanwu looked at Emperor Chen of Han with faint scorn.
“You have eked survival until today. What can you do?” Emperor Yuanwu looked at Emperor Chen of Han and said dismissively.
Pain flashed through Emperor Chen of Han’s eyes.
This pain was not caused by his reputation or his image in the eyes of others, but due to those lives that were sacrificed to ensure his survival.
Only he knew how many people had died for him to successfully flee the Han lands and escape the pursuit of the Qin Dynasty cultivators.
After the thread of pain flitted past his eyes, his gaze turned absolutely calm, giving off a hint of relief and peace.
“Please grant me instruction,” he said slowly, looking at Emperor Yuanwu.
Emperor Yuanwu’s pupils contracted slightly.
Once again, the peak of Deer Mountain descended into utter silence, only the chaotic primal energies of the universe howled around wildly.
Emperor Yuanwu slowly stood up.
Emperor Chen of Han was certainly a powerful cultivator, but first, he was a true emperor. Both, due to ancient etiquette and the Qin Dynasty’s reverence of courage, Emperor Yuanwu could not refuse such a challenge.
“How do you qualify to challenge me?” Emperor Yuanwu said slowly, with his eyes on Emperor Chen of Han.
Standing denoted acceptance. He first accepted, and then asked if his opponent qualified to challenge him. He was likely the only realm eight in the world right now.
Emperor Chen of Han did not speak.
His skin slowly turned red. Threads of red energy started to emerge from every part of his body. The presence around his body started to expand.
When his body produced the first thread of energy, he gave off a realm seven presence.
As his presence rose, the presence broke through the limits of a realm seven.
Uncontrollable gasps sounded.
The faint disdain in Emperor Yuanwu’s eyes completely disappeared. He frowned slightly and said in a slightly grave voice, “So it is the Heaven Stealing Pill.”
Many among those present echoed Emperor Yuanwu’s thoughts.
These people finally understood why Emperor Chen of Han had to survive in the past.
The strongest sect of the former Han Dynasty had been the South Sun Pill Sect. The pills of the South Sun Pill Sect were extremely rare pills in the remaining dynasties. However, the Heaven Stealing Pill was the greatest of them all.
The true meaning of “Heaven Stealing” meant to steal the realm of Heaven Opening. In many records, this was said to be a great pill that could have a realm seven cultivator directly reach realm eight after consuming it. A pill like this that went against the heavens would naturally require many astounding spirit ingredients that people could not imagine.
The South Sun Pill Sect had been poor for several generations. Supposedly, at the time of Emperor Ai of Han’s death, they had just managed to gather the main medicines required for this pill, and made an embryo. After the death of the Han Dynasty, the cultivators of the other dynasties thought that this kind of pill could not exist and the South Sun Pill Sect had cooked up a tale to frighten others.
But now, the blooming pressure coming off Emperor Chen of Han like a furious lotus reminded each of those present, that South Sun Pill Sect’s “Heaven Stealing Pill” was true.
“The greatest difference between a pill sect and other sects is that they have the form, but not the essence.”
Emperor Yuanwu looked at Emperor Chen of Han whose medicinal energies had even turned the soil beneath him red. He shook his head and said, “You are still no match for me.”
Emperor Chen of Han looked at Emperor Yuanwu and suddenly laughed. “Just a battle, who cares about victory?”
Emperor Yuanwu also abruptly laughed and said, “Fighting reduces the number of enemies for this Lonely One. So this Lonely One does not fear a fight.”
When he said this, everybody was under the impression the battle would immediately start. Unexpectedly though, Emperor Yuanwu’s gaze landed on the beautiful man in black robes next to the emperor of Qi.
“When ascending the mountain previously, I saw a thread of your energy. Only the Mountain Yin Sect has such means. Mister has such presence, you must be Mister Yan Ying of the Mountain Yin Sect.”
Emperor Yuanwu’s voice was calm, but he called the other Mister. Since the start of the conference, no one had seen him so respectful of another person.
The name Yan Ying of Mountain Yin Sect had no fame in the world. Even though most of the people present were the top of the world, there were still many that had not heard of him.
“Who is he?”
A Yan general couldn’t help but look at a shocked middle-aged official in front of him.
The shocked middle-aged official was a famed minister of the Yan Dynasty called Qiu Yuzhen.
The one who had asked him was a famed general of the Yan Dynasty, Li Hanshan.
“In the past, our dynasty’s General Bai Yong fought the Qi army. He was on the verge of victory but retreated in the end because someone sent him a black pot.” Qiu Yuzhen turned around and whispered to Li Hanshan.
Li Hanshan’s body shuddered, his eyes filled with shock. “Was the person who delivered the pot this Yan Ying?”
Qiu Yuzhen grimaced slightly. Who else, if not for this Yan Ying?
Before the formal agreement, it was common for the dynasties to be in conflict and invade each other’s cities.
In the past, the Yan Dynasty clashed with the Qi army due to army deserters. At the time, the strongest general of the Yan, Bai Yong, won three victories in a row, taking over three of Qi’s cities, and forcing the main Qi army to the Qi Ghost Horse River shores. Without a supply of food, the Qi army was on the verge of defeat and being forced to cede cities. But at this time, a Qi grandmaster delivered a black pot to Bai Yong.
Bai Yong opened the pot. There was nothing inside. He felt that there was something profound inside, and pondered for half a day before finding there was no mystery inside the pot, and the true mystery was the pot itself.
This seemingly ordinary black pot was made from pure vital energy.
Being able to condense vital energy into a tangible item and not have it dissipate was astounding, and being able to conceal it from the senses of a realm seven expert like Bai Yong, who had to study it for a long time to learn, was a skill that ordinary realm sevens could not imagine.
The reason that Bai Yong had been forced to retreat was when he calculated, he found that the Yan had no way of stopping this grandmaster from entering the main force and killing many of the army commanders if they engaged the Qi army.
At the time, Bai Yong’s army had at least four realm sevens.
A person that four realm sevens could not stop … after the Yan Dynasty army had retreated that time, Qiu Yuzhen remembered that black pot, and remembered the name Yan Ying.
“How was it?”
Hearing the respect in Emperor Yuanwu’s tone, the man in black robes only nodded in greeting and spoke these scarce simple words.
“I detected your hostility and fighting spirit long ago.” Emperor Yuanwu looked at him, and said slowly with pride, “At Deer Mountain right now, you are the only person who qualifies to fight this Lonely One.”
“Since we are going to fight, no need for such trouble.”
He turned to look at the emperors of Chu, Yan and Qi. He spoke in a confident and even prouder tone. “The two of you together … this Lonely One will give you a chance. If the two of you can win against me, not three years, this Lonely One will cede Yangshan Commandery for nine years before another meeting at Deer Mountain.”
The important people on top of Deer Mountain had refined their hearts into being colder than steel, but when they heard Emperor Yuanwu’s words, gasps sounded, and many instinctively rose to their feet.
Even the emperor of Qi, who had been sitting slovenly and watching the spectacle, was among them.
On the way here, he had said many shameless things and fulfilled all of Yan Ying’s demands, even putting himself at a low position. This was because he knew better than anyone how powerful Yuanwu was. With Emperor Yuanwu’s cultivation, he had had a small conflict with Yuanwu and must have sensed Yan Ying’s strength.
Emperor Chen of Han possessed realm eight power through the Heaven Stealing Pill. Adding on someone like Yan Ying … Emperor Yuanwu was extremely bold!
The emperor of Chu also wore a shocked expression.
He had never thought that Emperor Yuanwu would challenge a grandmaster like Yan Ying after encountering an opponent like Emperor Chen of Han.
“Such spirit!” He took a deep breath.
Regardless of whether Emperor Yuanwu was mad, too proud, or was truly confident, facing two opponents at once meant he had a spirit that others in the world could not possess.
Translator Ramblings: I’m not sure how “pretty” Yan Ying was historically, but the author kept on referring to him as the “beautiful man in black robes” so I guess he is very handsome in this story.