Past Memory When All Six Dragons Were Present
There was no way to acquire the sword taolu on the white wall. However, it was an important matter so the emperor had to keep it a complete secret.
The sword taolu Hero Shen Zhou left behind was breathtaking. Just a glance was enough to harm one. The emperor took a large sheet of white cloth and covered up the forty-three words. Afterwards, it was confirmed that not only did it affect literate and individuals who had martial arts knowledge like the emperor, but even illiterate people.
The two eunuchs who were tasked with covering up the white wall nearly lost their lives when their qi went out of control at the sight of the characters. Yan Shisan then had to personally cover it with the white cloth.
The power of the forty-three words was astonishing. Normal people could not approach them.
After that, the divine royal office was out of bounds for outsiders and guarded day and night at all times. However, the emperor did task his entourage with secretly searching for someone who could unravel the mystery of the sword taolu on the white wall.
Time flew by just like that. Three years later, the sixth prince was born. Thus the emperor’s concern increased once again. His son wasn’t just a mere seven words.
The priest, abbot and Hero Shen Zhou are the three with the highest levels of cultivation in the world, and also the three with the highest level of virtue. It was just as Yan Shisan said: if those three couldn’t be trusted, there truly was no one else trustworthy.
If their prediction was right, the world was bound to end at the hands of the six dragons.
The more the emperor worried, the more reality reminded him.
The six princes slowly grew up, and at the mere age of seven or eight, they had already begun to not think anything of each other. The emperor taught them to value their brotherhood every single day. But the six of them were born to rebel. Their bickering could not be stopped by the place, time or anything you could think of.
Sometimes their arguments would escalate into fist-fights with all of them tangled up in a beat-’em-up. It wasn’t the older ones picking on the younger ones either. And there wasn’t a single hint of any of them teaming up with another. It was always a battle royal between them. The brother older by three years would run his fists into his younger brother’s head, while the younger brother although unable to match his elder brother, wouldn’t surrender, low-blowing his elder brother. The elder brother in pain would dig at his younger brother’s eye balls. The princes’ fights always created an uproar that’d never end.
Although the situation was so dire, the emperor kept persuading himself that it was a common occurrence in the homes of commoners as well, and not to think too much of it.
That continued until that hunting event seven years ago. The eldest prince was eighteen and the youngest was fifteen. Hunting is a standard activity the royal family engages in. Speaking of the royal family, the kingdom they formed was won through combat which didn’t come easy. Hence, it was tradition for them to ensure they learnt archery, trained their mind and martial skills to remember their roots. The hunt that time was set up for the princes. As such, only the princes were permitted on the grounds, while the emperor waited outside.
All six of the young princes set their sights on the toughest deer, in an attempt to impress their father. None of them were willing to give way to the other.
The prince skilled at martial arts said he would hunt it with his skills. The prince not skilled at martial arts said he’d hunt it down by relying on his men. The prince without men relied on schemes, adding oil to the fire as if he was afraid the world wasn’t chaotic enough. After they were done talking, they started going at each other physically and not one of them could be stopped.
The six princes had five mothers, all of whom had backgrounds you couldn’t ignore. Each of the princes had their own ways of winning over people. The prince with great martial prowess had his, the wealthy one had his ways, the scheming one had his ways, the self-righteous one had his ways, the handsome one had his ways, and the lucky one had his own ways.
All of them had their own strengths. Each one of them was able to call on a group of people to help in a fist-fight. Their helpers included heroes from martial world, wandering warriors after wealth, and some of them were people in the forest the princes secretly built connections with. All of the princes had many men. It didn’t take long for two-thousand people to be engaged in a fist-fight on the hunting grounds. The wild beasts in the forest got frightened and didn’t dare to ascend the mountain. What would qualify as a battle between armies scared the wild beasts off, causing them to escape out of the forest.
The emperor who was waiting outside of the hunting grounds was smiling brightly, enjoying his tea and the massage his consort gave him. The emperor loves his people and rarely has time to himself. Thanks to the princes’ hunting event today, he had some time to spare since he accompanied them. While enjoying his time alone with his consort inside of his golden palanquin, there were some considerate and caring things they said to each other and of course they engaged in some intimate acts.
As soon as the emperor held his consort’s small snow-white hand, his consort lowered her beautiful face to hide her embarrassment. Her eyelids fluttered and her ears turned red. The emperor wanted to just turn his beautiful wife into a helpless white lamb who couldn’t put up any resistance against him. Just as the emperor said: “Dear, I haven’t seen you for a few days, I have missed you dearly. How about I transform into a ferocious wolf today and, hehehehe……”
Before he could say “show you some love”, the both of them suddenly heard a loud scream from outside the palanquin.
“Fucking hell! There are wolves!” The scream shocked the pair, who thought they offended the wolf-god, and hence they immediately got dressed.
But it was no simple matter. What came next was the wild whistling from the forest, the cries of the beasts, and the quaking of the Earth like hundreds of beasts were rampaging.
Senior Eunuch Nan then quickly reported: “Reporting, your majesty! Hundreds of beasts are insolently escaping the hunting grounds. The soldiers ahead of us are subduing them. It is not safe to stay here. Please pardon my rudeness, but you must move!”
“What?!” After the emperor reacted with astonishment, he felt his palanquin get lifted up by the men. The emperor and his consort were shook around inside of their golden palanquin. Because of that, his consort hit her head, wounding her beautiful skin. She consequently ignored the emperor for several days and caused a huge ruckus.
As soon as the emperor arrived back at the palace, he ordered an investigation into the matter, only to be left stuttering for words upon learning the truth.
After the incident was investigated, the emperor found out that the incident was caused by the in-fighting between his sons. The fighting wasn’t the problem. The problem was the scale at which they took the fight. The problem was that all six of them had their men lying in ambush all over the forest, with over two-thousand people in total in there. After the fight, there weren’t even half of them remaining. Countless people died or got injured.
At the time, Yan Shisan still held his post, and led Liu Shan Men’s constables in the investigation. They found out what needed to be known within two hours. The two thousand aforementioned people came from all over the land. There were those from groups in the pugilistic world, those from the martial world, thieves from forests and a few members of the imperial guards. There were even people from the demon sect and the league of assassins. It was a complex combination of people. The matter was so serious it made the biggest and most brutal fight in the martial world look like play-fighting between children.
When the six princes who were the masterminds behind the incident, leaving the emperor utterly stunned returned to the palace, they proudly brought up pieces of meat from a deer, its skin and fur. In fact, even traces of blood were still present, leaving one shocked. Upon arriving back at the palace, the six naughty princes couldn’t stop bickering, almost angering the emperor enough to put him in a coma.
That finally reminded the emperor of something important.
The six dragons will seal the nation… The six dragons will seal the nation!
If the six dragons were to gather together, they would grow more violent each day. They would fight each other for power, and finally slaughter each other, putting the nation in danger.
The emperor’s gaze looked glum. He looked at his six sons and emphasised every word he spoke: “You committed a big mistake and yet you show no remorse. Our Li family has run the nation based on none other than the principle of benevolence. How did we end up with such violent descendants?! Who started it?!”
They angered their father, resulting in him scolding them. The naughty kids then calmed down. They couldn’t help but get goose-bumps. However, they were adamant on passing on the blame, swiftly pointing at each other.
“Enough! Chi’er, you’re the oldest, who started it?”
The six of them had fought countless times in the forest. During the fight, all of their blood rushed to their head, so none of them could clearly recall who started it.
The eldest prince didn’t say anything for a long time. He then finally remembered that it was the third prince that yelled “fight”, so he said: “Father, it… it was the third prince that started it.”
“So it was you, Huang’er.”
The third prince is usually impulsive. Of ten fights, five would be ones he started. This time was no exception. As soon as he heard what was said, he glared at the oldest prince angrily. But before he could speak, in a deep voice, the emperor shouted: “Men! Remove the third prince’s headwear!”
Remove his headwear, banish him from the royal family and make him a commoner?
No matter how daring the third prince was, he couldn’t help but turn pale in the moment. He immediately knelt down and begged for mercy: “Father, I, I……”
All six of the princes were bossy ever since they were young. Begging for mercy was something they were never used to. He couldn’t continue after “I”. He just knelt before the emperor and allowed the guards to remove his headwear. The third prince quickly looked around to search for his mother to get her to help him.
But then he heard the emperor say: “Where is Wang Tushui?”
Eunuch Wang stepped out from the side with a friendly smile and announced: “Your majesty, your servant is here!”
In his low voice, the emperor said: “Write up my orders.”
Once a royal decree is made, it is virtually impossible to get it retracted. Even the empress wouldn’t be able to save him in that sort of situation!
The third prince kowtowed like a mad-man: “Please show leniency, father! Please show leniency, father!”
The emperor completely ignored him and bluntly said: “Pass down my orders. The third prince, Li Huangshu, possesses an upright character, and is very considerate of me. I hereby confer the title of Yellow Prince to the third prince, Li Huangshu, along with the salary of a prince.”
The princes went into an uproar. The one that just reported the third prince, the first prince was more bewildered than the rest: What? He started it and yet he’s been conferred the title of prince?
The third prince was baffled. What the? I… started a fight and got conferred a title?
Before he could finish speaking to himself, a flash of light appeared in the emperor’s eyes. He frightened the third prince with his glare as he continued: “Grant him Nan Yang Manor!”
Grant him a manor!
The third prince reacted like he got electrocuted. He was eighteen this year. While he’s usually indolent, he doesn’t covet the throne. Grant him a manor? How could he approach the throne if he was sent off to somewhere else, away from the capital? Further, he had never left the capital once. He didn’t even leave the palace frequently. What was he going to do once he went to a foreign place?
The third prince forced a smile and said: “Father, I am willing to crawl at your feel forever.”
“With you by my side so often, I’ll get annoyed even if you don’t hate it!” The emperor angrily continued: “You are to set off now. Twenty warriors from my entourage will send you there. Send another ten imperial bachelors to accompany him. If you don’t learn to behave, I’ll have you stay in Nan Yang forever.”
He finally realised the emperor was serious. The third prince kowtowed continuously, making loud knocking sounds on the ground until his forehead bled.
“Father, father! I know I was wrong. I really know that I was wrong. Father, please take back your order!!”
The emperor felt the urge to give in since he was his biological son after all, and he had doted on him since he was young. Every young man is a little violent. If he can change for the better… But when the emperor glanced to the side, he was stunned.
Next to the third prince who was crying woefully while kowtowing, were his biological brothers who were all smiling coldly in silence. As a matter of fact, they wore ridiculing looks as if the person kneeling in front of them was their enemy that they had to torture before they were satisfied.
The emperor’s heart froze. He steeled his heart again and said: “This is a royal decree. Do you intend to go against it? Men! Take him away!” The guards replied and then dragged away the prince who was begging desperately.
The emperor slowly swept his eyes over the other five princes, but didn’t say a word.
The five princes could feel their father’s ice-cold gaze, frightening them. While the third prince started the fight, they too took part in the fighting. If father punished the third prince so severely, what will become of us? They couldn’t help but feel uneasy.
However, the emperor didn’t say anything, instead, just continuing to look at them. He slowly stood up and said: “Get going.” He then turned around and left.
The five princes were all relieved to have gotten away, but they were still frightened.
The way the emperor looked at them at the end was honestly far too strange. He looked at them the same way he looked at the third.
What is he thinking?
*When the emperor says his son wasn’t just a mere seven words, he was referring to the prophecy. In other words, they weren’t just a hearsay prophecy. The rest of the chapter explains why.
**Chi’er = Chi (赤) means red. I translated the part where the emperor called him as “Chi’er”, because otherwise, it would have to be translated as something silly like “red”, or “red-dy”. Sounds like a shoddy power rangers rip-off.
***The palanquin here is more the size of a tent than the common one-seated type. Technically, it might as well be called a tent. However, I thought it would make more sense to you as readers to read “palanquin” since you can imagine it, while seeing “lifted up a tent” sounds stupid.