Chapter 90: Heroic young man!
The mountain breeze brushed past, white mist rolled in.
Above the overhanging cliff was a pavilion known as the Moon Pavilion.
Under the pavilion was an old man wearing an embroidered robe playing chess with an old Taoist.
“Old Taoist Sanchi, you are crazy for tea, crazy for medicine, and also crazy for chess. Yet you hide deep in the mountains and never go out and play chess with others. The name ‘Chess Craze’ really doesn’t live up to its reputation.” Just as the embroidered robe old man was talking, he forcefully placed down a black piece at the corner of the chessboard.”
The hanging horn of an antelope, no signs at all. This move known as the three pronged thorn was the famous technique of the old man.
“When old Taoist, I, tries to find someone to play chess with, I don’t always find a player. Instead it wastes my time and effort but also destroys my good mood for the day. However, as long as I stay up in the deep mountains, chess players might come to find me—–I’ve been unwilling to leave the mountains even one step because I’m worried that I will miss the opponents who are not afraid of the long climb up the mountain to come here. Those are the true crazy chess people.” Old Taoist Sanchi said with a smiling face while placing down a white piece at the middle empty position part, quietly setting the formation of a big dragon.
“Old Taoist found a unique excuse for your laziness, I admire such ingenuity greatly.” The old man laughed.
Just then, a colorful butterfly flew down from the sky.
A general wearing a green outer garment standing guard outside the pavilion clenched tightly onto his broad sword, glaring at the butterfly circling in the air.
The butterfly recognised its master, it flew straight in front of Cui Xichen.
A butterfly urgently came to report, it’s obvious that an unusual thing happened.
He allowed the butterfly to fly over to his ears. After it whispered something to him, it then turned into a ball of white light and burned into ashes.
This was just a spirit and will destruct immediately afterwards and can’t be reused.
Cui Xichen’s face became somber, his eyes glowering, and his beard and hair were all standing on their ends.
The embroidered robe old man slammed the table with his palm, the stone tabletop supporting the chessboard along with the four stone legs instantly turned into clouds of dust.
“Muyang, I definitely will crush your bones into dust and dismember your body into a thousand pieces.”
The mountain wind swept past, the powder scattered all around disappeared without a trace.
The stone table under also vanished; seeing that the chessboard was on the verge of falling over, old Taoist Sanchi brushed his sleeves, the chessboard once again leaped into the air. Each of the chess pieces persisted in their original positions like they were embedded onto the stone board by a strong force.
“My grandson died tragically, our family is in a disastrous situation. Brother Sanchi, I can’t continue this game anymore.” Cui Xichen apologised, his eyes saturated with a strong killing intent.
“Mr Cui please don’t be upset, life and death are determined by the heavens. You must take care of your body.” Old Taoist Sanchi cast his sleeves lightly, the chess board instantly slid down towards the mountain stream. “I will hold onto this match for now and wait for you to return.”
Cui Xichen cupped one hand in the other: “Goodbye.”
His arms opened out like a giant bird spreading its wings and leaped down the bottomless cliff of Cang Mountain.
The swordsmen wearing green garments standing guard outside the pavilion respectfully bowed and said farewell before they quickly followed and jumped down.
Old Taoist Sanchi walked over to the edge of the cliff. He stared at the numerous chessboards floating in the midst of the mountain stream.
These numerous chessboards were all unfinished matches; some started a game and left and some started a game then died. He has sealed these chess boards waiting for these opponents to return or new opponents to start another game.
These chessboards have to bear the mountain gale and scorching sun overhead, yet it have not lost its solemn atmosphere and still carries the faint sounds of shining spears and armoured horses.
“All good games.” Old Taoist Sanchi mumbled to himself.
West Wind Palace.
Just as the emperor of West Wind Kingdom Chu Xianda was admiring the painting of his beloved concubine, Concubine Ling, called the ‘Sovereign King Banquet’ the chamberlain Li Fu rushed over and disturbed him at the most unsuitable time: “Your majesty, the Defence Minister requests to see you.”
“Lu Xingkong?” Chu Xianda was at the prime of his life, giving rise to his refined appearance. He wholeheartedly tried to emulate the achievements of his ancestors by opening up new territories and expanding their empire and so he diligently handled daily affairs. Hearing that the most senior and experienced elder came, he said with a smile: “Nothing major happened in the country, why is he here?”
“The Defence Minister did not specify.” Chamberlain Li Fu bowed and replied.
Chu Xianda glanced over at Ling concubine’s drawing board, in a short while the painting will be completed, he wanted to be the first to feast his eyes and did not want to leave at this time. “Go tell Defence Minister that I have something important to attend to, I’m too busy to see him.”
“Your Majesty——–” Chamberlain Li Fu looked distressed, he stood at the door refusing to leave, then cautiously persuaded: “Your majesty, you should see Defence Minister ——-”
Chu Xianda was enraged, he thundered: “you old dog, you dare to teach the emperor what to do?”
“I don’t dare to.” Li Fu immediately knelt down, hesitated slightly: “Defence Minister is wearing the Dragon armour and holding the Heavenly Emperor Sword at the Hall of Supreme Harmony.”
“You old dog——” Chu Xianda’s face looked like he can’t bear it any longer, he muttered: “you old dog——–”
The moment Ling concubine heard what Li Fu said, her little hand holding the paintbrush began to tremble, pressing a great black mark onto the piece of paper.
“Ahh——-” Ling concubine exclaimed, her few days of hard work was destroyed within seconds. “The painting is ruined.”
Chu Xianda glanced over, he was even more furious. “Living to be so old is so troublesome, you old dog bring so much trouble to me——-We’ll head to the Hall of Supreme Harmony.”
Chu Xianda along with a group of guards rushed to the Hall of Supreme Harmony where Lu Xingkong was standing in the middle of the Hall wearing the Dragon Armour and his hand grasping tightly onto the Heavenly Emperor Spear; when meeting the emperor how could someone bring a weapon into the Hall?
Lu Xingkong stood up tall with dignity.
This made Chu Xianda even angrier, this old man’s power and influence is too strong, does he even take notice of the emperor?
However, what Chu Xianda showed was a different story.
He looked at Lu Xingkong in astonishment, then asked with concern in his voice: “What is the meaning of this Defence Minister? You’re wearing heavy armour, could there be people who wants to harm the Defence Minister?”
“Your majesty, I came to bid farewell.” Lu Xingkong fell to his knees in front of the emperor Chu Xianda and said in a low voice.
“Farewell?” Chu Xianda hastened to pull up Lu Xingkong, frowning, he asked: “Where will you be going?”
“I volunteer myself for military service, I am willing to stand guard at the Broken Dragon Pool. I won’t return until I die.” Lu Xingkong said in a clear and loud voice.
“Defence Minister, what are you talking about? Defence Minister has been fighting for this country for many years, now is the time for you to enjoy and rest, why run to the frontier region to suffer? Broken Dragon Pool is guarded by Xu Da, he is Defence Minister’s hand-picked general and is known as ‘iron wall’ along with Zhou Dong of red river valley. Since we have them standing guard there, what does Defence Minister has to worry about?”
Lu Xingkong carefully observed Chu Xianda’s facial expression, he then said with indignation and grief: “Your majesty, Xu Da was harmed, I’m worried that we will lose Broken Dragon Pool——Broken Dragon Pool is the region between West Wind Kingdom and Wu Country, both sides have sent massive military force to stand guard. If the Wu Country discovered that the commander-in-chief on our side is missing and that our army is unstable, they would attack us immediately and Broken Dragon Pool will most likely fall into the hands of the Wu Country.”
“If Broken Dragon Pool was occupied by the Wu Country, our West Wind Kingdom’s gate would be widely opened and the Wu Army can directly march in, take the three towns Qingyuan, Xinkou and Changdi. At that time, even if we wanted to force them out it will be extremely difficult, we will most likely have to pay a heavy price. ”
“Defence Minister———-defence minister—-” Chu Xianda interrupted Lu Xingkong’s ‘deduction’. “What do you mean? Why is the commander-in-chief missing? Why would the army in Broken Dragon Pool be unstable? Where is Xu Da? What happened to Xu Da? He was entrusted with heavy responsibility, he was ordered to defend the frontier, he dares to desert?”
“Your Majesty——-” Lu Xingkong’s face looked shocked as he stared at Chu Xianda: “Don’t tell me the arrestment of Xu Da was not commanded by your majesty? ”
“When did I send people to arrest Xu Da? What crime did General Xu commit?”
“——–” Lu Xingkong’s face turned crimson from anger as he said in a fierce voice: “Don’t tell me the Monitor Division made the decision by themselves and decided to detain the main commander-in-chief of the frontier region?”
“Defence Minister, what is the matter?” Chu Xianda slowed down his manner of speaking, stared at Lu Xingkong and asked.
Lu Xingkong was indignant as he once again gave an account of the arrestment of Xu Da and how he was framed.
“General Xu Da is my hand-picked general, he started as a soldier and then step-by-step achieved outstanding military service and is now known as ‘Iron Wall’. General Xu has been guarding Broken Dragon Pool for a decade; he had fought in several hundred battles to ensure stability in the border regions. The Dawu nation could hardly step into our West Wind Kingdom thanks to his efforts.”
“Your Majesty, what crime did Xu Da committed? Why was he suddenly arrested by the Monitor Department? And also they subjected him to all kinds of torture to obtain a false confession——-I don’t care if they’re against me but they used such unlawful acts to destabilise the country.”
“If the commander-in-chief broke the law, then the Monitor Division should investigate first and gather evidence. The final judgment should be made by the emperor——However, the Monitor Department made the arrest and faked evidence to force him to confess. Your majesty did not know about this so did not make any appropriate arrangements and did not send another general to replace him. All the military officers over at Broken Dragon Pool also does not know what happened, they are all in a state of panic and the morale is low. If a spy from the Wu Country probed into this matter, it will definitely lead to a battle, the consequences are unthinkable——–”
“Where is General Xu?”
“When General Xu was secretly imprisoned on an ordinary passenger ship by the Monitor Department, brave young man Li Muyang found out and rescued him—–Otherwise General Xu’s life would have ended.”