The World’s Dazzling Talent – The Emperor’s Thoughts
“A chat? Why did he wait for my meridians to be sealed and true qi to be inaccessible before asking to talk with me?” wondered the puzzled Jin Wangsun.
Jin Wangsun did away with his unease. He knelt down and held his hands in salute: “Wangun shall listen to what you have to say, Your Majesty.”
“No need to mind the formalities. Sit.”
The Emperor sat in his seat and continued going through accordion books without stopping his pen for a second: “Wangsun, your Jin Clan and I have been friends for two generations, so we’re considered old friends. My brotherly bond with your father aside, there is the imperial court and Gold and Silver Sect, which have been part of an important relationship since the founding of the dynasty. So accordingly, I consider you family.”
Suddenly hearing the Emperor bring up the past didn’t help alleviate Jin Wangsun’s unease. To the contrary, it amplified his unease.
“Wangsun is blessed and thankful to have you hold Wangsun in such high regard.”
“Blessed and grateful? I don’t see either of those. I did see what you did after entering the capital, however. The more I hear, the more astonished I am.”
The first incident Jin Wangsun recalled was hitting the elder statesman and His Majesty.
“This again? Is he still hung up about that incident?” queried Jin Wangsun.
“That was Wangsun’s mistake due to a moment of failing to think straight. Please forgive Wangsun!”
“Forgive? Which fault should I forgive first?”
The Emperor tossed an accordion book over to Jin Wangsun. The sound of the accordion book landing broke the peace in the room. The Emperor’s voice was very calm and emotionless: “Take a look for yourself.”
Stunned, Jin Wangsun picked the accordion book up to take a look. What he saw was far more stunning than Hero Shenzhou’s late carving – not in a good way. The accordion was the exclusive accordion style the Seven Champion White Princes sent to the imperial court. There was a secret means of delivering it that only leaders knew. What really startled Jin Wangsun was that the accordion was written by none other than the erstwhile patriarch of Gold and Silver Sect, his father!
Written in the accordion was Jin Wangsun attacking Night Fortress with the aim of profiting from Hangzhou, pursuing ambitions and so forth. His father also said that he planned to gift the Emperor his father’s retirement territory. An additional mention was that he planned to incite war between the imperial court and Gold and Silver’s former faction. He said his son was had sinister ambitions and was besotted with power. Therefore, he claimed his son was not worthy of being one of the Seven White Champion Princes’ leaders.
Jin Wangsun’s father stated that everyone within the sect was willing to force Jin Wangsun to abdicate the seat and would select a wise young man to replace Jin Wangsun. Due to the Seven White Champion Princes being implicated, the matter was major, which was why he asked His Majesty to intervene. In addition, he mentioned that he was willing to bear the punishment for failing to teach his son better. As such, he promised to give the imperial court more territory than Jin Wangsun did. He used compassion and profit to win over the Emperor, so it wasn’t surprising for the Emperor to turn on Jin Wangsun so quickly.
Jin Wangsun was absolutely flabbergasted. His heart almost raced fast enough to be dislodged.
“Y-Y-Your subject…” was all Jin Wangsun could enunciate.
The Emperor wore on a stern expression. He took out a white sheet of paper and a letter in one smooth sequence. He then stamped it with his personal stamp and slid it into an envelope.
“I don’t blame you for being rash and ambitious as a young man. However, I cannot accept you forcing your father to abdicate his seat, lying to those superiors and attempting to use me to eliminate your… your biological father! It is unforgivable from all accounts. Additionally, you came to ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage when you have a fiancée. You tried to take advantage of a joke I made back then so that you could turn my daughter into your weapon. That is utter insolence. Jin Wangsun, you have offended both the imperial court and I! Do you honestly think I’ll let you have your way just because you’re a patriarch?!”
If the Emperor wanted to remove one of the Seven Champion White Princes, he was a sentence away from doing so. Jin Wangsun was unfortunately caught in a pincer, not to mention that he couldn’t use his strength. He was a step away from kissing everything goodbye.
Jin Wangsun panicked: “Your Majesty, W-Wangsun wholeheartedly loves Her Highness. Wangsun’s father is getting on with age; there must be someone dubious trying to use him. Y-Yes, Wangsun defeated the evil Night Fortress. It must be them…”
“Jin Wangsun, do you think my brain is shrivelling?” asked the Emperor, as he held up a letter. Expression cold, he added, “This letter comes from a guest who is currently at Gold and Silver Sect’s headquarters in Zhenjiang. I sent him there. He has stayed at Gold and Silver Sect’s headquarters recently, so he knows everything there is to know.
He mentioned how magnificent Zhenjiang is. Your men are everywhere in Zhenjiang. You banished your father to the fields and forbade him from returning. Jin Wangsun, you sure have impressed me. You forced your father into retirement. Meanwhile, you made a request of me by leveraging my friendship with your father.”
“Th-There must be a misunderstanding. Wangsun’s father is merely ill. That was why Wangsun sent him home to rest. Wangsun did n”
“You still want to try and slip your way out? Have you any idea who I sent to Zhenjiang? Why do you think Gold and Silver Sect’s headquarters fell so fast? Why do you think your father could recruit your men to join his cause in Hangzhou? It was because the man I sent there was my entourage’s Tianhu.”
Jin Wangsun shuddered. Tianhu was the top-ranked member in the Emperor’s entourage and one of the Ultimate Three on Liu Shan’s Elites Rankings. He was assigned the “hu” character, meaning “fox”. His full name meant Heavenly Fox. As with all members of the Ultimate Three, they were assigned aliases from spirit animals.
Tianhu’s skills were inconceivable. It would be a tall order to find someone who could match him. The League of Assassins spent hundreds of thousands merely for one of his hands, yet nobody accepted the job to this day, which was one of the things that troubled the boss.
The current Ultimate Three were at the borders. The Qilin Guards’ grand commander guarded the northern border, while Tianhu was in charge of guarding the southern border. The two of them were the imperial court’s two Heavenly Gods who held down the pugilistic world. They couldn’t be ordered back from the border thoughtlessly.
“So Father managed to bring down Gold and Silver Sect so swiftly thanks to outside assistance. How frightening is Tianhu to have been able to achieve this on his own?” questioned Jin Wangsun.
Jin Wangsun was understandably furious. First, Ming Feizhen, Hongjiu and his crew snatched back Night Fortress, and then his father took his men. His only hope, the imperial palace, was gone with the wind. He couldn’t comprehend why the Emperor suddenly changed his stance. If the Emperor predicted all of his steps from the beginning, then he was far more shrewd and scheming than Jin Wangsun imagined.
The so-called fuma selection wasn’t a contest to decide on his son-in-law, but to put on a show for the imperial court, one they could accept, because the last contest was impossible to complete. The Emperor deliberately chose that for the contest to fail both Ming Feizhen and Jin Wangsun. Since neither of them could complete the assignment, the Emperor wouldn’t have to marry his daughter to either of them.
“Wait… it’s not that simple.” Jin Wangsun realised something.
Jin Wangsun looked shocked. The Emperor looked laid back as if he had him in check. He was poised. He didn’t resemble someone who was caught by surprising news. Not even Tianhu helping out the former patriarch in Zhenjiang was a surprise to him. The Emperor most probably planned it out earlier on. He wouldn’t have reacted so quickly, otherwise. As one of the Ultimate Three, reassigning him wasn’t done at the drop of a hat. The only plausible explanation was that the Emperor began his designs for Gold and Silver Sect from when Jin Wangsun took over Night Fortress.
He wasn’t the Emperor for no reason. He wasn’t looking at just his daughter’s marriage, but the entire world. What the Emperor cared about from beginning to end was the Seven Champion White Princes; they were the potential threat he was uneasy about.
The Emperor’s initial plan was to use the land Jin Wangsun gifted him to gradually take over the Seven Champion White Princes’ territory, which was why he agreed to the marriage proposal. When he heard about Jin Wangsun and his father being at odds, he just went along with the tide, cancelled the wedding and helped the former patriarch return to headquarters. Of course, the former patriarch offered more territory, which perfectly aligned with the Emperor’s agenda. Needless to say, he didn’t have to be concerned about a patriarch who was out of power. In summary, the Emperor was always conspiring against the Seven Champion White Princes!
Realising the Emperor’s agenda lit up the track in front of hm. Jin Wangsun finally understood why his father never asked the Emperor to help him reinstate himself as the patriarch out of friendship and chose to find another candidate, instead. His father was aware of what the Emperor was after.
The Seven Champion White Princes were held in too high regard. They say a tall tree catches the wind. Fundamentally speaking, they were the stars around the bright moon, the latter being the imperial court. Every monarch understood the concept that the water that held up a boat could also capsize it. The reigning Emperor was no fool. He had an iron grip to prevent losing the fragile balance. No matter who it was, if they wanted to rule Jiangnan, then they would be the imperial court’s first enemy. Jin Wangsun crossed the line when he took over Night Fortress.
Song Clan was brighter than Gold and Silver Sect in that regard. Song Clan was the final clan to be listed as one of the Seven Champion White Princes. They didn’t marry anyone from the imperial family, but they sent their son to Liu Shan Men. By doing that, they managed to seize power whilst offering the Emperor a hostage in the capital. As a result, the Emperor was less wary of them.
Gold and Silver Sect had a chance to build an amicable relationship with the imperial family; however, when Jin Wangsun took over Night Fortress and marched his men into Hangzhou, the Emperor’s scales finally tipped. From that very moment, he wouldn’t choose Gold and Silver sect even if they were to offer an alliance.
Hangzhou sat in the centre. By taking over Night Fortress, Jin Wangsun became the top force in Hangzhou’s martial world, but he also stationed his men there. In essence, he was building an army, or so it was perceived as so. Jin Wangsun essentially stepped on the Emperor’s sensitive nerves over and over. There was no way the Emperor would turn a blind eye to such a blatantly ambitious and dangerous figure.
The Emperor snickered as if he read Jin Wangsun’s mind: “You took over Night Fortress half a year ago and stationed your men in Hangzhou, Jingan reached out to me at the time. She warned me to keep tabs on you. If you behaved, I would’ve left you to your own devices. The issue was that your ambition knows no bounds. You continued to cross the line time after time. I cannot let you off.”
“Princess Jingan?!” Jin Wangsun’s blood turned cold.
“Princess Jingan targeted me right from the beginning?” wondered Jin Wangsun
Jin Wangsun recalled the day Princess Jingan took the initiative to contact him. She was the one who told him it was feasible to challenge the master of Night Fortress to establish himself. Following her advice, he managed to soar up and reach his status at present without any hitches. He also treated her as a deity, waiting on her in every possible manner. Coming to the capital to ask for Princess Hongzhuang’s hand in marriage was also her instruction.
“Why? Why did Princess Jingan want to harm me in the first place? Because of Ming Feizhen? I did hear that Princess Jingan’s fuma was allegedly in contact with Mount Daluo. Could it be because of Ming Feizhen? It makes no sense, though. Ming Feizhen is the master of Night Fortress. Why would she ask me to challenge Night Fortress?” Stars rotated overhead and the world spun before his eyes: “Why?”
The Emperor judged Jin Wangsun to be afraid and guilty going by his dejected look. He scornfully remarked, “Coward.”
As aforementioned, the first two contests of the fuma selection were to put on a show for the world and demonstrate that the Emperor was a man of his word and fair. The third contest, however, was what the Emperor was truly focused on.
In all fairness, as an overlord, Jin Wangsun wasn’t wrong for being ambitious. If anything, it was perfectly normal. The Emperor eyed the Seven Champion White Princes’ balance every day. Jin Wangsun just had to slip up ever so slightly, and Tianhu would be ready to take him out.
Jin Wangsun’s mistake was revealing his ambition too soon and challenging his opponent before he had what it took. All in all, if there was anything to blame, it was his own idiocy and weakness. His mistake was climbing too high too soon.
Finally realising his folly, Jin Wangsun gritted his teeth and felt resentful. He trained Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual in recent months without consuming a Taiyin Pill or using a woman to modulate his Yin and Yang energies. Hence, his true qi was highly susceptible to complications.
After being defeated, suffering a psychological attack and being under the influence of Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual, his mind underwent a change. At that moment, he had a strong desire to kill to calm his roiling blood even in spite of being in the Emperor’s presence.
Unfortunately, Jin Wangsun couldn’t utilise his true qi. He just had a desire to kill. His eyes glowed faintly red. His hands began to involuntarily shake. His heart felt cold as ice. He wore a ruthless expression: “I want to kill them! I’ll kill Ming Feizhen! I’ll kill the old man! I’ll kill that bitch, Jingan!! I’ll kill all of them!”
Noticing Jin Wangsun’s odd demeanour, the Emperor called, “Guards! Jin Wangsun is a traitor, deceived his superiors and shown intent to harm me. Apprehend him and lock him in at his lodge. Have the Seventeen Hidden Dragons escort him! Announce his crimes on my behalf, and he shall be executed at a later date.”
Guards came and subdued him by his shoulders as though they were arresting a criminal. Jin Wangsun was elated to hear “lodge”. Once he arrived at his abode, he had a chance, which was his one and only chance.
Jin Wangsun had mastered the highest level of Golden Grow Moon Eater Manual. As long as he could return to his place, he would have an opportunity to amplify his strength. With A-Hu also assisting him, not even the Seventeen Hidden Dragons would be his match. He received his final god-given chance.
*Tianhu – Pronounced ‘Tien-hoo’