B1C1: Qin Yu
It is a day in the winter. After heavy snows, the whole Yan City seems to be covered in a silvery coat. A very large city, Yan City can accommodate several million people, and so the mansion of the person who is in charge of the 3 counties comprising the Eastern region — ‘East Vanquishing Prince’ Qin De — is located in the city.
The East Vanquishing Prince mansion occupies an extremely large area with its main entrance kept open all the time. The main entrance is also very large, enough for 6 or 7 people to enter at the same time.
Moreover, two bare-chested vigorous men who are about 2 meters tall and look as if they are carved from rock are standing on the left and right hand sides of the entrance with their eyes coldly glancing at the crowds of passersby. Each of them is carrying a huge blood-red battle knife on his muscular tiger-like back. At first sight, the knives are at least 1.5 m long.
It is a winter day, the ground is totally covered by snowflakes, the temperature is frighteningly low and even the rivers have frozen, yet these 2 men are bare-chested.
Nevertheless this is not the most shocking thing. What is even more frightening is that there is a ferocious tiger standing beside each of them.
The tigers are red like flame from top to toe and are about 2 m long. Every time they sweep their iron-whip-like tails, they cause the air to tremble. Their eyes radiate cold rays of light. These tigers are called ‘Fierce Tigers.’
Suddenly, 2 men walk out from the East Vanquishing Prince mansion. They are also bare-chested and leading a fierce tiger each. They have come to change shifts with the other two.
Outside of the mansion, people all wittingly bypass it whether they are members of powerful families, aristocrats or commoners in Yan City.
In a secluded courtyard in the East Vanquishing Prince mansion, a middle-aged man dressed in green is sitting on a stone bench. A lovely boy is sitting on his legs. 12 people are standing in front of him. These 12 people are either old men or beautiful women or young men, but they have one thing in common — they are all dressed in purple.
‘Father, what have you called up so many teachers for?’ asks Qin Yu, who is just 6 years old and is sitting on his father’s thighs. Idly kneading a snowball in his hands, he looks at his father Qin De with doubtful eyes.
Qin De caresses Qin Yu’s head lovingly then looks up and turns to the 12 people. He suddenly says: ‘You have taught Yu’er for some time. All right, don’t be hesitant. Let me know if you have any judgments.’
The 12 people look at each other. Then a white-bearded man takes a step forward. ‘Your Highness,’ says he, ‘having observed Third Prince from every aspect, we see that Third Prince has some interest in unconventional skills, but has absolutely no interest in such matters as the way of ruling. According to our judgments, it is impossible for Third Prince to become a perfect ruler.’
It seems a bit subjective for them to make such an assertion after having stayed in contact with the boy for only several days, but Qin De has no doubts nonetheless.
He gives a deep sigh, looks at unwitting Qin Yu and says with a forced smile: ‘I see. Yu’er is like his mother. He has no interest in worldly power. But in terms of practicing martial arts he is…’
Saying up to here, Qin De suddenly stops. He then waves his hand and says: ‘This period of time must have been troublesome for you. You all can now leave the mansion.’
‘Your Highness, we take our leave!’
The 12 people bow in unison then leave the secluded little courtyard in turn.
Now there are only Qin De and his son Qin Yu in the courtyard. Qin De remains silent. After a while, he looks at Qin Yu with meaningful eyes. Anyway, 6-year-old Qin Yu is still unable to understand the meaning of this.
‘What’s the matter with father? Why isn’t he talking?’ wonders he. But he is very clever so he does not disturb his father. Having been without his mother since he was very little, in his heart father is the most important person in addition to his 2 older brothers.
After some time, Qin De is still sitting. Qin Yu has been sitting quietly on his father’s thighs all along.
Suddenly a cry of a crane rises.
A white Xian crane is flying towards them. On the Xian crane is sitting a handsome middle-aged man with an elegant, lofty demeanor. The Xian crane takes only a short while to arrive at the courtyard.
As soon as he sees this middle-aged man, Qin De stands up and asks hurriedly: ‘Brother Feng, there’s something wrong about Yu’er’s dantian. I wonder if you can think of…’
Seeing Qin De like that, Fengyuzi naturally knows what is wrong with his good friend. He only sighs and says: ‘As I said earlier, there’s absolutely no hope of success for Yu’er in practicing martial arts, Your Highness. His very strange dantian can’t accumulate internal energy so of course he can’t practice martial arts. This kind of dantian is innate and there’s not even a chance of finding it in millions upon millions of people. So I have no solution either.’
Hearing this outcome, Qin De slowly sits down and contemplates for a long time.
‘Father, what is internal energy? Why can’t my dantian accumulate internal energy? Just now those teachers also talked about a ruler or something. What did they mean?’ asks 6-year-old, wide-eyed Qin Yu doubtfully.
He remembers what was said not long ago clearly.
Qin De smiles bitterly inside, but he still soothes Qin Yu: ‘Yu’er, don’t ask too much. You dislike studying this and that, and want to go to Misty Villa, don’t you?’
Qin Yu’s eyes immediately shine with excitement, looking like bright stars in the night sky. He says: ‘Ah, so I don’t have to study those boring books anymore? Misty Villa, I love the hot spring, love looking up at the stars, and love watching the sun rise.’
Qin De smiles: ‘Alright, alright, alright, Yu’er, if you like, I’m going to give you Misty Villa. There’re also 1000 crack soldiers who will be yours to command. If you want something, just tell your father directly.’
‘Ah hah, this is awesome. Wow, Misty Villa is mine now. I’ll be able to soak in the hot spring every day. It’s going to feel very good,’ says Qin Yu. His cheeks are red with excitement.
The smile on Qin De’s face is totally forced but Qin Yu still does not notice anything unusual.
‘It’s good that you like it. Yu’er, you should get some sleep first. Whenever you want to go to Misty Villa, you only need to tell your Grandpa Lian,’ smiles Qin De while tapping Qin Yu on the head.
‘Goodbye Father. Goodbye Uncle Feng.’ Qin Yu waves his hands then goes to his room.
Qin De smiles and watches Qin Yu enter the room. His face then suddenly hardens. With a shake of his body, he seems to turn into a wisp of green smoke and disappears from the courtyard. Fengyuzi also disappears after him gracefully like a floating cotton fiber.
In a secret room of the princely mansion, there are 3 people at the moment — Qin De, Fengyuzi and a scholar who is dressed in black and holding a folding fan.
‘Your Highness, you have really made the decision?’ The black-dressed scholar looks at Qin De and asks him doubtfully.
Qin De nods: ‘Since Yu’er can’t become a leader or an expert of the Xiantian level, it is better if he doesn’t take part in this. That strange dantian of his, alas, perhaps the only thing I can give him is 10 odd years of happiness and quietude. When the time comes for us to put my plan into action, Yu’er won’t be able to have a peaceful day either.’
Fengyuzi thinks for a while then decides to speak out.
‘Your Highness, must this plan of yours be executed? You should know what consequences that plan will bring about once it’s carried out, should you not?’ asks Fengyuzi once again.
Qin De’s face hardens immediately. His eyes flash with cold lights. He says: ‘It doesn’t matter if it is for the ancestors of the Qin clan or for Jing Yi, this plan must be carried out. Jing Yi left me 3 sons, although there’s something wrong with Yu’er dantian. But Feng’er and Zheng’er are good at martial arts and literature respectively, enough to make this matter of importance successful. Xu Yuan, has the first move ‘Shadowy Chess’ been started?’
The black-dressed scholar Xu Yuan waves his fan a couple of times then folds it and says with a smile: ‘Don’t worry, Your Highness. I have everything in the palm of my hand.’
‘Good. Very good,’ Qin De’s eyes radiate killing intent.
The place where East Vanquishing Prince Qin De lives is called the Qian Long continent, which has a large area. To this day no one has ever been able to measure it.
This is due mostly to the fact that the easternmost part of the Qian Long continent is occupied by an immense wilderness. The wilderness has many high mountain ranges and is covered by thick forests. It also has countless demonic beasts. The deeper one goes into the wilderness, the more dangerous the beasts he will encounter. Therefore, not even the powerful people honorably styled ‘Shangxian’ on the Qian Long continent have been able to explore this Immense Wilderness fully.
On the west side of the Immense Wilderness, there are 3 big kingdoms, ruled respectively by the Chu dynasty, the Ming dynasty and the Han dynasty.
The populations of the 3 kingdoms amount to approximately 10 billion people. The continent’s area is even more shockingly large. Of the 3 dynasties, Chu is the most powerful, but there is a very special clan within its kingdom — the Qin clan.
The Qin clan occupies the 3 counties comprising the Eastern region out of the Chu kingdom’s 12 counties. It has a heritage that has been passed down for several hundred years. Its footing in the 3 Eastern region counties is so profound that even the Chu Emperor will find it extremely difficult to deal with the Qin clan. Moreover, the clan has a unique corps called the Fierce Tiger Corps.
Fierce Tigers, crimson from head to toe and having a fairly large body, are a particular type of tiger. The method of breeding them on a large scale is the most important secret of the Qin clan.
The Qin clan has charge of an army of 600,000 men, 50,000 of whom belong to the Fierce Tiger Corps. Every soldier of the Corps rides a Fierce Tiger. Having astonishingly strong attacks itself, coupled with the mounted soldier, the tiger becomes even more difficult to defeat.
The roars of the 50,000 Fierce Tigers alone can cause a lot of damage to the enemy’s morale. The 50,000 Fierce Tiger soldiers can easily annihilate a large army of over 100,000 ordinary cavalrymen.
The power of martial arts is of paramount importance on the Qian Long continent. Each of the 3 big kingdoms here has at least one Xiuxianist who serves as a national guardian. In the eyes of commoners, Xiuxianists are godlike. Once their flying swords are drawn, they can behead a person from hundreds or thousands of li away; using their swords, they can fly up to the ninth level of the sky. Are such feats not what only immortal beings are capable of?
Misty Villa is built on Mount Donglan. The mountain is 3,000 m high and therefore can be considered a high mountain.
2 years has passed.
Qin Yu is now an 8-year-old boy. He has grown taller quite a bit. His eyes occasionally radiate wisdom but deep in the eyes there is a hint of sadness. At this moment Qin Yu is walking on a mountain road alone with a black young eagle standing on his shoulder.
‘Xiao Hei, it’s been 2 years. My father has only visited me once in 2 whole years.’ Qin Yu nips his lips then talks to the young eagle on his shoulder.
He found this young eagle 1 year ago while going about on Mount Donglan and conveniently brought it along. Having the eagle as a friend, he has not been very lonesome. His father was his everyday friend before he turned 6. But it has been 2 whole years since then and he has only seen his father once.
The black eagle flaps its wings and gently caresses Qin Yu’s childish face, making him laugh immediately.
After walking for a while, he suddenly sees a pregnant woman ahead of him who is arduously carrying firewood. He promptly turns to the eagle and says: ‘Xiao Hei, let’s help this auntie, OK?’
Xiao Hei flaps its wings at once and shakes a couple of times on Qin Yu’s shoulder. Without delay Qin Yu runs very fast to the woman while laughing.
‘Auntie, allow me to carry the firewood for you.’ Qin Yu says to the woman.
Hearing that, she puts down a bundle of firewood and wipes the sweats on her face. When she sees that Qin Yu is only a boy, she says laughingly: ‘Thank you, little kid. Your auntie here can carry it by herself. It’s still about 1 li from here to our hamlet.’ Saying to here, she puts the firewood on her back again and continues to advance.
‘I’m not a little kid. I’m 8 years old already. I’m sure I can carry the firewood.’ Qin Yu looks at the sweats on the woman’s face. With just 2 actions he abruptly snatches the firewood from her and puts it on his back.
A bundle of firewood is nothing to an ordinary people, but to an 8-year-old boy it is very heavy. However, because Qin Yu often soaks himself in the hot spring in Misty Villa, his body is much stronger than that of a normal 8-year-old child, and he is actually able to carry it on his back.
‘Auntie, you see, aren’t I carrying it? Humph, you still call me a little kid?’ says Qin Yu proudly. His childish little face is covered in dust at the moment, looking very dirty.
The woman is amazed briefly. She soon says with a smile: ‘Your strength is really not bad. But there’s a li to go. I’m sure you can’t go on till the end, kid. You’d better let auntie carry it.’
‘Who says I can’t go on till the end?’
Seeing the woman reach out her hand, Qin Yu hurriedly starts to run forward. Then he turns his head around and says: ‘Auntie, I’ve run about this Mount Donglan many times. I know there’s a hamlet just over a li from here. It must be your hamlet. Let’s go. Hurry up. Hah, you’re not as fast as me!’
The pregnant woman smiles broadly: ‘This kid, what family is he from? Having a son like this, his parents must be very happy.’
At first it is not difficult for Qin Yu to carry the bundle of firewood but after going some length he feels his own legs start to weaken. After all, he has been going on a mountain road while carrying firewood on his back. Even though Qin Yu surely is strong, he is also merely 8 years old.
After a while, his legs suddenly tremble.
‘Kid…’ says the woman alarmingly.
‘Don’t worry, this is a piece of cake,’ says Qin Yu after turning his head around and struggling to put on a smiling face. Those words make him sound like a strongman. But the mountain road does not agree with them. Qin Yu’s foot hits a stone and he cannot help stumbling.
Then his whole body falls to the ground with a thud.
The woman immediately walks up. She takes hold of the firewood and helps Qin Yu stand up. His little face is now full of dust and looks very dirty. Feeling deeply wronged, he turns to the woman and says: ‘Auntie, actually… I can still carry it. Just now I only tripped on a stone.’
‘Alright, auntie knows you can still go on. But the hamlet is up ahead. I thank you very much.’
The woman puts the firewood on her back. Seeing that Qin Yu is not injured, she helps him clean his face. Then she carefully warns him again and again to go home. Only after Qin Yu has nodded and promised that he will does she return to the hamlet.
Qin Yu looks at the hamlet which is about 100 m in front of him and says with a frown: ‘Xiao Hei, it’s time to go home.’ Then he immediately smiles: ‘But it’s much easier for auntie now. She’ll arrive at the hamlet soon.’
His smile is brilliant. It is a smile from the bottom of his heart.
At a secret place nearby, 3 people look at each other. They are experts who secretly protect Qin Yu.
He is East Vanquishing Prince’s son, and Third Prince, no less, so how is it possible for him to run around alone on a big mountain?
‘Third Prince is still a kid, but he is already so kind. I can’t understand why His Highness sent Third Prince to Misty Villa. He only visited it once in 2 years. Every time seeing Third Prince sit alone at the top of the mountain for a whole night, seeing his small body engulfed in the cold wind of the night, I felt unhappy,’ groans one person in a low voice.
Another man nods and says: ‘Whenever Third Prince looked up at the sky, his expression made my heart ache. His Highness he… Alas!’
‘Enough! What His Highness wants to do is not what we can understand. Our duty is only to protect Third Prince well.’
Suddenly, on the mountain road, a swarthy man of an imposing build with eyes as large as copper bells is coming up at a high speed on a crimson tiger. He says loudly as he sees Qin Yu: ‘Third Prince, First Prince and Second Prince have arrived!’ Qin Yu is so excited that his eyes glitter. He runs to the swarthy man at once and jumps on the tiger’s back. His face has reddened with excitement. He says hurriedly: ‘Uncle Wang, hurry up, let’s go. Let’s get back to Misty Villa!’
The man hugs Qin Yu carefully then drives the Fierce Tiger to descend the mountain at top speed, leaving behind a dust cloud.
End of b1c1.