Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 45 – Starlight Would Rise
Meng Fuyao leapt up and jumped down, running on top of the soldiers’ heads. She saw that the capital city troops and palace guards battling in the center of Yanjing had gradually lessened. Although, the capital troops seemed to have reorganized with a stronger commanding after going through a period of chaos, and had started to orderly counterattack while simultaneously retreating. Fuyao noticed an alley didn’t have many people and charged into it. Just when she had sprinted a couple steps, she sensed a flickering in front of her eyes, and a shadowy streak slipped past her side like a swimming fish. She vaguely saw an ashen, long face, that person’s steps extremely quick as he turned like a fish to zip around her. Meng Fuyao’s head didn’t even turn back as she grabbed backwards, laughing, “Traitor, where are you going?”
That person turned his head frantically. Sure enough, it was the dishonorable Yao Xun who ditched Meng Fuyao to flee two days ago in that broken-down temple in northern city. Right now his whole face was filled with panic, his whole body bruised and unceasingly trembling as if he was suffering from malaria. Seeing Fuyao, first he was so scared that he leaped up into the air, then he revealed a gleeful expression as he sobbed, “Grandaunty it’s you … save me, save me!”
“Save you?” Meng Fuyao gave him a sideways look. “And wait for you to betray me again?”
“That was in a moment of confusion,” Yao Xun hurriedly made continuous bows and gestures of humble begging, “Lady Meng if you help me, in the future I will definitely work for you with absolute loyalty!”
“Humph, only an idiot would believe you!” Meng Fuyao threw him aside with a grab and instantly set off. She had not yet strode out a step, before a sudden burst of jingling noises sounded from in front of her, and then a streak of rainbow-colored light flew over with eye-piercingly gorgeous brightness. From the distance could be heard a crisp voice, like stringed crystal beads falling onto the floor, containing smugness, arrogance, and a little bit of anger.
“Where are you going to run now?”
With a foot Fuyao kicked Yao Xun behind an alley corner, while she blocked at the alley entrance, leaning on the corridor wall with a forced smile. As expected, the person arrived with the sound, and Ya Lanzhu flew over like a cloud shining with vibrant colors from a glazed mirror.
“Where is he where is he where is he!”
Meng Fuyao chewed on some strands of grass from the wall seams, lazily saying, “Are you talking about that long-faced guy who just went past? There’s a battle up ahead and they didn’t have enough people, he got conscripted.”
“Really?” Ya Lanzhu skeptically stared wide-eyed. Suddenly, she slanted her head to look at Meng Fuyao. She then said, “Hey, your face looks familiar.”
Meng Fuyao spit out the grass, then laughed, “That’s right, I’m your neighbor’s paternal aunt’s cousin’s maternal aunt’s older sister’s cheating husband’s mistress’ little sister’s teacher.”
Ya Lanzhu widened her eyes, counting with her fingers to carefully calculate this intricate, complex relationship. After thinking for a while, she suddenly turned furious, her small knife-like eyebrows rising high up. “You’re fooling with me!” Her voice had yet to fall before her blade had already come slicing over.
Fuyao’s fingers lifted up, three fingers shooting towards the acupoint in the center of her palm like halberds. Ya Lanzhu hurriedly retracted her hand, but Meng Fuyao had already changed her hand motion; like drifting clouds and flowing water it slid, and the “Divine Illusion” ninth style of “Breaking Nine Heavens” swiftly and lightly pressed onto Ya Lanzhu’s pulse.
With a light laugh, Fuyao flung her out with a lift of her hand, throwing her with a 360 degree spin. When Ya Lanzhu landed on the ground she actually didn’t fall down, her arm still frozen in that raised position. Meng Fuyao went over with a smile, flicked her still shaking nose, and said slowly, “Little girl, people that I cover for, I will bully. You should just go to the side.”
Laughing with a ha ha sound, Meng Fuyao called for Yao Xun. “Let’s go!”
Yao Xun timidly flashed out. Seeing the noble princess of Lifting Wind Nation being frozen in place, her arm raised without movement, he sucked in a breath of cold air and faithfully followed after Meng Fuyao, hurriedly running away. On the way, the two people took advantage of the chaos to exit the city. Only after running out far away did Meng Fuyao ask, “What did you do to offend her?”
With a bitter face Yao Xun said, “Somehow she knew that I was good at stealing stuff, and she wanted me to steal Zhan Bei Ye’s underwear.”
Fuyao spat out a laughing sound, only after holding her stomach for a long time did she inquire, “Did you steal it?”
“You think I’m looking to die? I absolutely refused to, so she started hunting after me.” Yao Xun resentfully replied. All of a sudden, he revealed a crafty smirk, and took out something from his bosom. He waved it around in front of Meng Fuyao. “Although I didn’t lose out either. We Godhand Gang people, don’t have the practice of seeing a wild goose and not plucking its feathers.”
A light green jade plate, carved with a scepter that symbolized wisdom and authority. The two characters “Wu Ji” could only be seen when it was slanted at a specific angle towards the sunlight.
It was Infinite Empire’s passage seal.
“Ha, good stuff!” With a grab Meng Fuyao snatched it over. Slapping it in her palm and weighing it for a while, she raised her head in deep thought.
The sky had already turned a little light. In the distance, yells of slaughter traveled over – when it reached them only the sounds of soft whispering like sighs remained. The wind brought over the smell of blood and heavy killing intent, yet when it brushed past the hair on the young girl’s temples, it was gentle and soft as usual. The scattered hair that covered her appearance was blown aside. That face, although having been disguised, still had a stunningly delicate profile. Perhaps because of this, the wind became even more gentle, as if it were dancing.
There is a type of beautiful creation, that all things will be exceptionally kind to.
In that moment, Meng Fuyao’s smile seemed kind of similar to Yuan Zhaoxu – distantly elegant, containing a type of calmness as if everything was well.
“I say …” She suddenly spoke softly, her eyes looking towards the continent’s southeast.
“With Tai Yuan being muddled into this kind of shape, we are better off leaving. Xuanyuan is also chaotic, as for Nemesis I want to wait until the True Martial conference until going. Now that we have this passage seal, how about …”
“… we go to the Infinite Empire.” ———–
On Tai Yuan Empire’s Shengde 18th year 9th month 23rd day, after a failed assassination attempt, the “Upheaval of Yanjing” exploded. The whole capital city of Tai Yuan fell into a mass of blood and fire, while the capital troops, imperial city troops, and palace guards, three great armies in charge of protecting the capital city and imperial palace, clashed in a chaotic battle. In the short period of one day, the golden brick-laid imperial palace streets were filled with tens of thousands of corpses. The poured and spilt blood stained the palace river and Taiye ponds with flushed red, while the bodies that fell into the river were still surfacing many days after.
This was a singularly strange internal struggle. The Prince Qi, who originally had victory close at hand, was suddenly met with a counterattack from the Crown Prince. Fang Minghe’s capital troops that had encircled the imperial city were conversely wrapped up like a dumpling. The Crown Prince’s palace guards surrounded the capital troops and engaged in a brutal slaughter, in almost a blink of an eye flipping the situation around. However, just when the Crown Prince was about to achieve a complete victory, the capital troops suddenly received effective orders, and a group of powerful martial experts joined the fray all of a sudden to pierce through the palace guard command structure. The situation had flipped yet again.
Flashing like sweeping lightning, a thousand fluctuations. Because of the intentional participation of powers and some unexpected factors, the originally simple imperial coup actually changed from a conflict of ambush into a conflict of entangled chaos. The battlefield moved from inside the imperial city towards the entire Yanjing city. The capital burned brightly, and the people were thrown into calamity.
Due to paralysis and blockage of information, from start to finish the great war inside the capital was unable to be communicated as soon as possible to the local troops stationed near the city. This allowed Qi Xunyi’s troops to, after battling the Crown Prince to a draw, be able to retreat towards the north in a timely fashion. The Crown Prince wanted to protect the surroundings of the capital, and so did not dare to chase. Qi Xunyi led his army on a road to the north; with the sharp points of his soldiers, he consecutively suppressed several provinces. After two months, Qi Xunyi proclaimed himself as Emperor in northern Tai Yuan’s Gan province, instating the state of Upper Yuan, his era name Chang’an. Ruling over the five provinces of Qian, An, Huang, Gan, and Ding, at this point, Tai Yuan was split into two.
The stormy change shocked the seven states. The gazes of the high-level personages of the seven states all converged on the Tai Yuan engulfed in blood and fire. After a very long time, people with perceptive eyes that probed through the oceans of history would analyze that the greatest winner from this event was not Qi Xunyi, and even more so not the Crown Prince Qi who unluckily had a portion of his territory divided; it was that person from Infinite Empire whose methods always made one speechless – Crown Prince Wuji.
Because Qi Xunyi had instated his territory at the common border zone between Infinite and Tai Yuan, that land tightly bordered the state of Xuanyuan. If Xuanyuan planned to sneak attack Infinite, it needed to borrow passage through here. Now that this piece of land had changed owners, and Qi Xunyi held a grudge with the regent sovereign of Xuanyuan, this passage was no longer able to be borrowed anymore, no matter what.
Thus, some people made guesses about this great inner conflict of Tai Yuan that suddenly erupted out of the blue. Could it be that there was someone who intentionally provided the impetus for these events? Those who arrived at this conclusion all directed their gazes towards the center of the continent, their faces revealing shocked and fearful expressions.
Those coldly shivering gazes swept towards that stretch of fertile territory in the central continent. In that state territory, the peerless Crown Prince Zhangsun of those many people’s guesses, expressed a reasonably reserved response to this event. During the winter of Infinite Empire’s Zhenning 15th year Crown Prince Wuji declared to the world, he congratulated the new Emperor of Upper Yuan Qi Xunyi for ascending to the throne. At the same time, he particularly generously gifted the new Emperor with the always disputed Southern Qiang area near the borders of the two nations.
Qi Xunyi looked out overjoyed and respectfully received it. Once again, the personages with discerning eyes all derided him as a fool behind his back. Their reason being: how could one easily accept the things that Zhangsun Wuji gives out?
On the morning of the 24th of the 9th month, when the unfortunate old Emperor of Tai Yuan heard the news of the Crown Prince and Prince Qi’s internal struggle, in a fit of worry his life extinguished. After dying, the Emperor’s corpse was left inside the Heavenly Peace Hall with no one bothering to care. All of the princes and ministers were hurriedly choosing a side, and all of the eunuchs and maids were frantically pilfering and running for their lives. After two months, when the dust had settled, the ministers of the Tai Yuan dynasty finally remembered the old Emperor. When they sent people to collect the body, the corpse had long rotted into a pile of decayed flesh. The entire Heavenly Peace Hall was filled with crawling maggots, while the old Emperor’s rotted pair of empty eye sockets stared up at the sky. That mouth full of decayed teeth seemed to be faintly smiling, eternally smiling at the world’s greed, conflict, and the ruin of a prosperous empire brought by these sins. After the events some sighed that Prince Qi clearly had ample preparations, his assurance of victory complete. Yet in the end he did not manage to seize victory in one move, instead landing in some exiled territory and becoming Infinite Empire’s puppet king. Some people attributed this to bad luck, persuasively searching for an example. “Look, that fire, if it wasn’t for that unexpected large fire and chaos at the Letter Hall, the Crown Prince would have long been dead. How would the upheaval of Yanjing have happened after that?
Yes, that crucial point, that sky-rushing, palace-burning great fire that determined the entire Tai Yuan Empire’s future direction.
No one knew that, that fire, as well as the reason resulting in Tai Yuan’s division, was all because of a girl’s sudden impulsive idea. And her great courage and fearlessness, daring to do anything and become anything in the night of Shengde 18th year 9th month and 23rd day, was her first time truly blossoming out in magnificently unrestrained brilliance – illuminating a nation’s bleak future.
Just like how Meng Fuyao at that time did not know, even though she was a minor character right now that could be crushed to death by others anytime she was careless, every one of her footsteps would lead her towards the center of the turbulent politics of the seven states. The seven states’ annals would ultimately have empty white pages, that waited for her to wield her brush and leave her mark on history; those legends filled with inevitable conspiracies, ambitions, conflict, and murder, would from start to finish depend on her to compose. No one else could take her place.
In the winter of Shengde 18th year, Meng Fuyao’s escape passed into Tai Yuan’s neighboring state the Infinite Empire.
Not long after she entered the borders of Infinite, the delegation of the Infinite Grand Tutor returned to their home country as well.
Starlight would rise in the center of the Five Regions Continent, and the story that belonged to her and them, would now finally start.
While the even longer journey, had only just begun.
End of Book 1
Next Book: 《The Infinite Heart》
——————————————————————————–Footnotes Seeing juicy opportunities and not taking advantage of them Wu Ji, or Wuji, means infinite, boundless, limitless, etc If you look at the map of the Five Regions Continent on the main page, the two green blobs at the southern parts of the continent are representative of Upper Yuan and Tai Yuan. (Lime green is Upper Yuan, teal is Tai Yuan).