All the officials were in a hot debate after they heard Ji Chang's words. Bo Yikao stood up first and advised, "Father, King Zhou must harbor malicious intentions by calling you suddenly. The last time he summoned you, you were trapped in You Li for seven years. By the God's blessing, you could come back safely. I'm afraid that you'll lose your life if you go to Zhaoge again."
After Bo Yikao finished speaking, Ji Fa said, "Father, King Zhou is foolish and tyrannical, and has no principle of righteousness. The Shang Dynasty is swaying, and plenty of vassals are rebelling against it. However, under your command, Xiqi is getting stronger day by day. The reason why King Zhou is summoning you now is that he fears the power of Xiqi. He aims to take you as a hostage, and if he succeeds, we won't be able to act against him to prevent him from harming you. You cannot head toward Zhaoge."
Ji Chang could undoubtedly understand the crucial point in the words of Bo Yikao and Ji Fa. However, King Zhou was a king, if you did not follow the order of a king, it meant that you were a rebel. Ji Chang has been an official of the Shang Dynasty ever since the father of King Zhou, Emperor Yi, was alive. He was a little resistant to rebel against the Shang Dynasty. Hence, though he understood the critical point of this matter, he felt it was hard to make a decision. Therefore, he summoned his officials to discuss and saw if there were any perfect solutions.
Shen Gongbao was good at observing others' thoughts from their expression. He saw the hesitation in Ji Chang's eyes. After thinking for a while, he figured out the critical point. He stood up and said, "Marquis, as the second master has said just now, King Zhou is brutal and heartless. If you go to Zhaoge now, you may lose your life. But since you have seen through both life and death, you are probably thinking that it is worth heading toward Zhaoge in exchange for the peace of Xiqi."
After hearing Shen Gongbao's words, Ji Chang's facial expression changed. Shen Gongbao was right. But Shen Gongbao continued to say, "However, you haven't thought about the reason why King Zhou fears Xiqi. The reason may not lie in you, but the wealth and power of Xiqi. Even if you're willing to sacrifice yourself, King Zhou won't let Xiqi go. He'll take you as a hostage and order his army to attack Xiqi. The people of Xiqi will suffer a lot. I beg you to consider carefully, for the ordinary people in Xiqi."
Shen Gongbao was extremely smart. Ji Chang was nearly 100 years old, and he did not value life and death that much. He was willing to sacrifice himself for Xiqi. There would be little difference in his thoughts if he were persuaded to cherish his life. However, if he were convinced by using the security of the people in Xiqi, he would listen to the advice because of his kindheartedness. Shen Gongbao persuaded him because he had seen through this point, and apparently, his words hit Ji Chang's soft spot.
Ji Chang's expression distinctly changed after he heard those words. If what Shen Gongbao had said was true, Xiqi was destined to ruin. Bo Yikao and Ji Chang were obedient, how could they rebel against King Zhou and set his security aside. Ji Chang stared at Shen Gongbao and said hurriedly, "Chancellor, this is His Majesty's order. If I don't go, the army of King Zhou will suppress us. Then, the whole world will be in chaos and Xiqi will suffer."
Shen Gongbao sighed secretly. After all, Ji Chang was a mortal, although he specialized in the Eight Trigrams of Zhou Yi, his horizon was somewhat narrow. The Cultivation Tribulation had started, it was a power struggle of dynasties on the surface, but internally it was the competition of four religions. Even if the power of the Shang Dynasty was stronger than Xiqi now, with the support of the Clan of Enlightenment and the Western Religious Sect, Xiqi was not weak. If the two sides fought against each other, Xiqi might not even suffer any losses.
In fact, Shen Gongbao could tell that Ji Chang did not fear King Zhou. He merely didn't want to rebel against King Zhou. Even if he didn't want to be rebellious, things were destined to happen. King Zhou would be an excellent stimulant to make him a rebel. Shen Gongbao suggested, "All you have to do is to reply to King Zhou that you're badly ill and cannot withstand the trudge and that you'll go greet him in Zhaoge after you have recovered."
Ji Chang thought it was a good idea. So he replied to King Zhou with Shen Gongbao's words. But things did not go as entirely as he thought. Several months later, Ji Chang received King Zhou's expeditionary proclamation, in which King Zhou announced that he was a rebel and sent armies to suppress Xiqi. Suddenly Ji Chang felt terrible.
He devoted his whole life to the Shang Dynasty. However, King Zhou took him as a traitor when he was at such an old age. He definitely would be uncomfortable, but now, everything was useless. The most urgent matter at hand was making a strategy to deal with King Zhou's army. He could only temporarily suppress his sorrow and summoned the officials to discuss the issue of safeguarding Xiqi.
Being in the hall, Ji Chang was somewhat disappointed. He overlooked people standing in front of him and said, "Everybody, King Zhou has declared that Xiqi has rebelled against him because I haven't headed toward Zhaoge. He also sent his armies to suppress Xiqi, and they'll arrive soon. King Zhou will bear down on us ferociously. I wonder, do you have any good strategies to deal with the matter?"
Seeing this, Bo Yikao said, "Father, King Zhou is foolish and tyrannical. He listened to slanderous talk and is about to attack Xiqi. The complaints of people around the world are heard everywhere. You can comply with the mandate of heaven and declare to become the king. We can attack the Shang Dynasty together with the power of other vassals. I'd like to be a general that leads our army, and fight against King Zhou's head-on."
Ji Chang's look changed distinctly after he heard Bo Yikao's words. King Zhou just declared him a traitor. However, if he announced himself as a king and attacked Shang Dynasty, these actions would authenticate his crime of being a rebel. It is only natural that he would not agree to that. Hence, he said seriously, "Yikao, you can't say such stupid and offensive words. I've been an official of the Shang Dynasty for two generations, how can I conduct such a monstrous crime?"
Seeing this scene, Ji Fa also stood up and said, "Father, elder brother is right. King Zhou is foolish and tyrannical, and he has lost his people's support. The vassals and people around the world support you. You should replace him, and create halcyon days to prevent the people from suffering from King Zhou. Ever since the Three Royals and the Five Emperors, the world has belonged to people with benevolence. King Zhou has destroyed the Shang Dynasty himself, so it should be reasonable for you to replace him. Please claim to be a king and attack the Shang Dynasty."
Ji Chang was in a pickle after he heard Ji Fa's words. Hearing both Bo Yikao and Ji Fa's words, all officials knelt down to show their agreement, which made Ji Chang feel even more awkward than before. He knew both Bo Yikao and Ji Fa were right, and their words were reasonable, but he didn't know how to overcome his loyalty toward the Shang Dynasty."
Noticing that Ji Chang was still hesitating, Jiang Ziya said bluntly, "Marquis, the two masters are right. When I left Mount Kunlun, my teacher told me a secret of heaven. He said that the Shang Dynasty would be destroyed and the Zhou Dynasty would flourish. Moreover, he said that an enlightened king would appear. Now King Zhou is foolish and tyrannical, and the world is in chaos. Since you're a rarely seen enlightened ruler, you're destined to be a king. Please create peace for the sake of the people!"
Shen Gongbao added, "Marquis, Xiqi is rich and strong now. Besides, we have the support of the Western Religious Sect and the Clan of Enlightenment, so it's possible to attack the Shang Dynasty. What's more, you have the support of all the people. If you comply with the mandate of heaven, people will surely follow you. King Zhou's army is about to come; please be resolute."
Ji Chang felt it was a bad idea to decline their suggestion since not only the ordinary officials, but also the State Preceptor, Shen Gongbao, and Chancellor Jiang Ziya persuaded him by telling him that it was the mandate of heaven. He then said, "If that's the case, I'll adopt your advice and declare to be a king. Chancellor, you're responsible for the sacrificial rites." Jiang Ziya happily received the proclamation.
All things related to the sacrificial rites were prepared in three days. On the sacrificial altar, the table was packed with all kinds of sacrificial offerings. Ji Chang wore a king's robe and lighted some incense sticks to worship heaven. He prayed to heaven, "I hope heaven and earth can witness me. King Zhou is foolish and tyrannical. He loves the evil empress so ardently that crafty and fawning officials of the government are furious. I'm here to follow the mandate of heaven and claim to become a king. The title of my dynasty is Zhou. I'll gather my soldiers to suppress the Shang Dynasty and spare the world peace."
All the officials knelt down beneath the altar and exclaimed, "Long live the king!" Shen Gongbao and Jiang Ziya, however, harbored their different thoughts. Although they were officials of Xiqi, they came here with a mission. Ji Chang declaring to be a king meant that he and King Zhou had to have a prolonged, and fierce battle, which would symbol the beginning of the Battle of Gods Investiture. The Clan of Enlightenment, Western Religious Sect, Tribe of Severity, and Tribe of Humanity got involved by it and had no opportunity to escape.
Ji Chang declared to be a king and established the Zhou Dynasty which could also be called Western Zhou. Ji Chang called himself King Wen of Zhou. Once the news spread, the whole world was shocked. Initially, King Zhou took the excuse of the rebellion of Xiqi to suppress Xiqi. However, Ji Chang declared to be a king publicly and in this way authenticated his resistance. The nine provinces were surging, and an astonishing war was about to take place.