A Few Facts about Luo Sword Manor (Part 1)
The journey of over ten kilometres was peaceful. That being said, gums in the carriages flapped incessantly. To avoid suspicion flourishing in Ming Feizhen’s mind, Emperor Yuansheng deliberately noted the former’s questionable points as merits. Ming Feizhen was a man they struggled to read, and he could’ve been far more skilled than he let on. If he was spying on them, they would reveal the fact they had had doubts about him.
If anyone were to chance upon the bamboo scroll, they’d mistake it as a record for Ming Feizhen’s merits. If Emperor Yuansheng stamped it and had it sent to the ministry of personnel, the official who read it would be astonished Emperor Yuansheng had such high praise for him.
Ming Feizhen capturing Mountain Monster using his poor martial skills was recorded as “Subduing one of Evil Spirits flag bearers at Bishui.” His inability to perform any of Mount Daluo’s skills was recorded as “A master of skills not taught at his sect. Creator of new skills.” Playing truant and nowhere to be found when he was needed was note as “Comes and goes like the wind. Quick witted. Appears relaxed but is tense.” The ability to have countless renowned names send him gifts and have control over the chaos was recorded as “Prudent, able to adapt and manipulate the enemy. Calm and collected as a general should be.” The countless things linking him back to Night Fortress was recorded as “Strong and vast connections. Acquainted with half of Jiangnan.”
Emperor Yuansheng used up the entire surface area of the bamboo scroll. Flip it over, however, and one would discover there was a lot of blank space for edits. Usually, empty spaces would come in handy, yet Emperor Yuansheng found it annoying this time. He, therefore, picked up his golden knife again and resumed carving for about another hour, filling up the blank space with all the information he had pertaining to Ming Feizhen.
Satisfied with his masterpiece, Emperor Yuansheng ran his eyes over it again with the corner of his lips hiked up: “Much better. Ming Feizhen, twenty-eight years old, a citizen of Nanjing. He joined Beiping’s Mount Daluo under Daoist Wushan as a child. He’s not yet married… Perfect. Mm… There’s still too much blank space. The blank space can be nifty, but the bamboo doesn’t look good. Oh, right, I can add his portrait. Let’s see… Ming Feizhen looks…”
A habit plagued Li Clan since their ancestor’s time. The founding Emperor was a martial arts nut and the peerless adept of his generation. His son failed as a martial artist, but he was well-versed in literature. Emperor Yuansheng’s father was a lecher. The man once had all the beauties in the land called into the harem and slept with all of them at once.
Orange Prince was addicted to a life of crime after reading military books as a child. From then on, he always wanted to use military force in everything he did. He even had a table of sand that depicted the nation. He discussed how to overthrow the nation as he played with it on the daily. Jingan was a bookworm. Princess Hongzhuang had an obsession with sabres. Zizi loved to call random people his father and championed the stubborn mindset.
Emperor Yuansheng was always dedicated to improving the nation and accomplished many commendable deeds; he didn’t have much of a personal life. If he had an addiction, it would be his addiction to literature, martial arts and managing his nation. Emperor Yuansheng went through documents daily. He forbade anyone from disturbing him during those hours. If nine bulls couldn’t make Zizi budge, ten bulls wouldn’t make Emperor Yuansheng budge.
An hour later, Emperor Yuansheng finished carving Ming Feizhen onto the remaining empty space and finally called it quits. He set his blade down and brushed open the curtain to view vibrant scenery. Alas, the golden petals spread across the blue backdrop were too harsh for his eyes. He was so lost in profiling Ming Feizhen that the sun had come up. The green was a memory of the season past, and the transient beauty of red and gold was starting to tumble in the frigid winds. Which scene was more delightful on one’s eyes was in the eyes of the beholder.
Nanjing had its fair share of picturesque scenery, but the people would avoid Emperor Yuansheng if he went on tour there, which wasn’t what he wished for. For that reason, he rarely left the imperial palace for vacations. The majestic architecture in the imperial palace certainly was a standard for aesthetics. Howbeit, humanity’s thousands of years of history couldn’t hold a candle to the beauty of nature that had existed far longer than humanity’s history.
Emperor Yuansheng let out a pent up breath. The trip wasn’t for nothing in the end, thankfully. The scenery would stay in his memory for a long time as something he could recall from time to time. Memories of riding on his horse in the pugilistic in his youth bloomed in his mind. It was no secret he was fond of that time in his life, where he believed anything was possible. Maybe the memories reversed aging. Either way, he started to feel a weight lift from his shoulders.
With a smile, Emperor Yuansheng stated, “I had no idea I had been writing for so long. Old habits don’t die. I lose track of time whenever I concentrate on something.”
Dugu smiled: “Your dedication is the people’s blessing.”
“By the way, where were we?”
Others may not have been able to recall what they were discussing four hours ago, but the three veterans were used to Emperor Yuansheng’s style.
“Before you set your blade down, you mentioned Refining Divine Convention,” answered Tie Hanyi.
“Ah, yes, that’s right,” remarked Emperor Yuansheng, caressing his beard with a focused visage. “Refining Divine Convention’s timing is abnormal. Luo Ming is known as a man of his word and revered for his heroism. I know him personally as a friend for decades as I previously mentioned. This convention and everything about it is not typical of him. I’m curious if there’s internal strife in the clan.
“Luo Ming has four sons and one daughter. His three eldest sons have passed away. His daughter isn’t twenty yet. His youngest son, Luo Siming, is apparently mature and capable enough to as a leader; he’s now Luo Clan’s manager. Luo Ming has been training in seclusion since ten years ago. Luo Siming was unable to inherit the blacksmith skills of his father, thereby unable to lead the blacksmith department. Even if he mastered his swordplay, he would be relegated to leading the swordsmen.
“During Luo Ming’s training window, his second brother, Luo Xian, is heading the blacksmith department. Luo Xian is also known as Soaring Scorching Sun. Based on the fact Luo Clan’s blacksmith department puts food on their table, Luo Xian practically shares authority equal to their leader. Rumour has it Luo Xian is aggressive and tyrannical. I have my suspicions he’s the mastermind behind the convention.”
Tie Hanyi: “If that is the case, Luo Clan’s internal situation is shrouded in darkness despite its impregnable appearance. It will be difficult to distinguish what their goals are.”
Emperor Yuan Sheng: “No clan can escape the fate of corrosion in their ranks after being around for centuries. Their swordsmen and blacksmiths have long been at odds. Their internal conflict has been the reason they haven’t been able to surpass Gold and Silver Sect or Yangzhou’s Song Clan.
“Luo Clan is lucky they were gifted with Luo Ming. His swordplay prowess, management skills, fame and integrity set the two departments straight. He was also the key to settling their internal and external strife. They didn’t just get lucky overnight and gain enough power to challenge Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary. Think about it: Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary wield more power than anyone among the Seven Champion White Princes.
“Luo Clan had a string of misfortunes when Luo Ming’s sons successively passed away due to inexplicable reasons after he began training in seclusion. Some claim he decided to seclude himself as he was depressed after his sons’ untimely deaths. As a parent myself, I can imagine his misery, so I wouldn’t rule out the claim. If he refuses to take the reins, Luo Siming and Luo Xian will inevitably clash.”
Dugu: “That must be why you said you cannot visit Master Luo under your real identity once we reach Canhu Town and are opting to join the convention.
“Exactly. If I was to visit using my real identity, it would be difficult to know what to expect. The Seven Champion White Princes’ are Jiangnan’s martial world’s hope. Every move they make has a direct impact on the pugilistic world. If they start trouble, the consequences would be on par with The Four unorthodox Factions going on a rampage.”