The fall breeze was cool in the winter phase, and the heat of midsummer was gradually retreating, with a slight chill in the wind.
It’s a great time for outings, especially autumn outings, foliage appreciation, and climbing.
A carriage rocked, and the person inside bowed their head in meditation as they heard the wheel squeak over the uneven path.
“The Capital of Great Yuan is just ahead.”
Gu Ziyuan, a great scholar dressed in a white robe, reigned in the reins, turned the horse’s head, and said with a smile.
A towering city wall was not far away. Iron armored troops were patrolling everywhere. The Great Yuan appeared to be soaring upward, with dark colored walls at the bottom and vermilion dragon flags at the top.
“This is the Capital of Yuan! How spectacular!”
All of the sudden, each of the young Confucian students’ exhaustion from the few days of dusty travel vanished, and they began to debate with each other one by one.
“It’s no surprise that back then, while the opposing country surrounded the Yuan capital for countless days, it still failed to break Great Yuan’s defense, but was instead counterattacked until to its capital by the Yuan cavalry. Now, if you think about it, Great Yuan’s wall is truly solid.”
“Such a large nation is very different from a small country where I’ve previously gone to. It really makes a person yearn.”
There were many countries in the Great Wilderness, hundreds of contending schools of thought, cross sectioning of sorceries, and innumerable legends of immortals.
During the tempestuous days, the fires of war raged across the length and breadth of the land, and the course of time created people’s desires. Princes competed for power, and many countries were hungry for talents.
In the past, commoners worshiped one another and bore witness to the Six Kingdoms. Later, a farmer led an army and emerged triumphant. It was a time when heroes were born in vast numbers, dominant countries compete with one another, and chivalrous desire reigns supreme.
(t/n Six Kingdoms-The name is derived from the six successive dynasties of South China that had their capitals at Jianye (later Jiankang; present-day Nanjing) during this time: the Wu (222–280), the Dong (Eastern) Jin (317–420), the Liu-Song (420–479), the Nan (Southern) Qi (479–502), the Nan Liang (502–557), and the Nan Chen (557–589)
The country of Great Yuan was just as powerful and strong as the country of Wei.
However, the country of Wei now was no longer dominant, and was already in a state of decline. On the other hand, the Great Yuan, restructured to fortify its own country and flourished again.
A brilliant prospect like this naturally attracts talents from all across the world.
This was also true for the Confucian students who came to study on the continent. They sought to promote their own ideologies of government to Great Yuan, notwithstanding their disagreement with Great Yuan’s current political orientation. Studying outside is an essential way for them to showcase themselves.
The Confucianists got off their horses at the gate of the city, held each of their horse’s reins, and waited in line to enter the city.
A garrison guard stationed at the city gate read their diplomatic note, “Confucianists?”
Gu Ziyuan, the leader of the team standing at the forefront, quickly made an obeisance by cupping one hand in the other before one’s chest, “Precisely.”
The Great Yuan’s policy for governing its country was mostly based on legalism, and people from various schools of thought can be seen in the Great Yuan. Political strategists, Taoists, Yin-Yang scholars, Miscellaneous scholars, and War strategists were all welcome. The only unpopular one was Confucianism.
This cannot be blamed on the Great Yuan. In fact, throughout the Great Wilderness, only small countries that adhered to the etiquette of the previous dynasty pursued Confucianism. Regardless of the fact that there were now many great nations, none of them actually adopted Confucianism to govern their countries.
Confucianism coincides with the Warring States Period where all countries were pursuing reforms, strengthening their military forces and expanding their territory. Confucianism emphasizes benevolence and propriety, which was easy to implement, but was extremely difficult to practice.
Gu Ziyuan was aware of this. He couldn’t help but smile bitterly.
For many years, the Confucianists have wandered around small countries, rarely entering powerful countries such as the Great Yuan. One, because they were dissatisfied with the ruler of Great Yuan’s oppressive attitude, and second, Great Yuan fiercely supports the legalist ideology.
For a long time, Confucianists and Legalists had been hostile with one another. Isn’t it begging to be humiliated by entering a territory dominated by their adversaries? But, unlike in the past, the Great Yuan was now a prominent and powerful country. If Confucianism wants to gain a foothold, it must have the assistance and recognition of a major country.
The garrison glanced behind him and asked, “Who is seated on the carriage?”
Gu Ziyuan replied, “Replying to Sir, on the carriage is a distinguished guest of my Confucian leaders. He has a problem in both of his eyes, you see…”
“Stop talking nonsense!” The garrison interrupted him directly. “If you want to enter the capital, you have to be checked. Call the person in the carriage to come out and unpack all of your luggages at once! Otherwise, don’t blame me for being rude!”
Gu Ziyan swallowed the lump formed in his throat due to fear. The surrounding guards clenched their spears one after another, with a stern look on their faces.
The people who were queuing up behind them to enter the capital all backed away, showing obvious fear on their faces.
A young girl, grasping the hem of an adult’s clothes, was taken aback and began to sob. “Auntie, are we going to be arrested and beheaded?”
“Stop talking gibberish!” For fear of attracting trouble, the elder in commoner’s clothes immediately covered her mouth.
The Great Yuan possessed millions of strong troops. Such troops were also regarded as the division of tigers and wolves. They were well-known throughout the world.
Furthermore, severe criminal regulation was practiced in the Great Yuan, and any form of torture that was implemented can even make any person feel terrified. Citizens of foreign countries who were accustomed to freedom and unrestricted movement found it difficult to accept such stringent restrictions. As a result, the Great Yuan was becoming known as a flood beast.
(t/n flood beast- a metaphor for a great scourge; A beast that cannibalize humans and animals)
Just as everyone was at a standstill and was only lying in wait for the first one to move under the city gate, a man’s clear and melodious voice was heard behind the carriage’s curtain.
“Sir must not mobilize the troops and stir up the masses. This commoner will now come down.”
Bony hands lifted the curtain away.
The individual who exited from the carriage donned a snow-white robe with dark cyan lining, emerald gilded lapel and cuffs, and a face as warm as jade. He carried a sword tied across his waist and without a crown on his head. Instead, he styled his hair in a ponytail, like a warrior from some other country. Allowing his long black hair to fall behind him, he appeared gallant and very heroic.
There was no one in the area who did not utter ‘Yue Zhi’ and ‘Huaijin holding Yu’ making people feel like a spring breeze. However, such a pure and noble person had an inch of white silk covering his eyes, losing a bit of luster.
(t/n-Yue Zhi- as noble as a lofty peak; describing a person’s bearing or character)
(t/n Huaijin holding Yu-carrying gems in one’s bosom and grasping valuables in one’s hands-a man of scholarly virtue)
The passively attracted onlookers all shook their heads and sighed with pity.
“For those who carry weapons, go to the other side to register.”
Seeing as the man in the carriage was certainly blind, a beautiful blind man with an exceptional temperament and who also appeared to be some son of an aristocratic family. The guard also didn’t want to be difficult anymore. He waved his hand, allowing him to register himself.
“Brother Luo, please come with me.”
Gu Ziyuan took a step forward, and after instructing the Confucian disciples behind him to wait here for a while, he led Zong Luo to the side.
The separation of civil and military forces had not yet begun. From the monarch to the literati and to the warriors, there was still the tradition of wearing swords. Most people back then even had both civil and military skills. For example, the great masters of Mohist School and Feng Yuejun of the country of Wei. They were all famous swordsmen.
Confucianists were no exception, and there were many students in the school who were skilled in both pen and sword. It’s just that Gu Ziyuan, a renowned Confucian with a tremendous literary gift, was only a middling martial artist. He doesn’t even spend much time contemplating it.
Zong Luo casually untied the sword on his waist and handed it to a guard.
His sword’s scabbard was unremarkable, its whole body was silver, and had no other features. Only on its hilt hung a jet-black ancient jade, which was engraved with an intricate and mysterious Kui pattern.
(t/n Kui-is a one-legged monster in ancient Chinese mythology. A beast, shaped like an ox, with a pale body without horns, and only has one foot.)
At the location where weapons were registered, there was a unique measuring platform. Not only should the breadth of the sword be measured, but the salient attributes of the sword’s body should also be recorded and stored in the armory order file to avoid future problems.
The guard assigned at the weapon register drew out the sword offhandedly to inspect. When the lengthy blade was unsheathed, a cold light flashed. The blade was the color of autumn frost, and its keen edge was very intimidating. The coldness can be felt even by just holding it in hand.
A painter in charge of the registration saw it and nearly knocked the table over. His eyes glowed. “This gentleman, could you perhaps allow me to have a closer look at it?”
A good saddle should be paired with a fine mount, and a fine sword should be paired with a good master. Such a frigid and glistening sword, it appears to have been crafted by a renowned craftsman. Who would think the owner to be just a nameless martial artist?
It’s just a pity that the master turned out to be a blind man and he seemed to be carrying a heavy medicinal scent on his body.
“Of course.” Zong Luo nodded with a smile.
The painter was overjoyed and took it with both hands.
He was a sword lover. He carefully held the sword in his hand and examined it carefully.
“Good, good, good! The sword is three feet and eight inches long, can cut gold and jade and cuts iron like mud. This is indeed a good sword!”
The painter said the word ‘good’ three times in a row. While testing the sword, he caught a glimpse of its texture and became suspicious.
He held the sword’s hilt with his backhand. When he peered down at the sword’s body diagonally, he was like a man who climbed the mountain and stared down at the abyss. There was a crouching dragon coiled at the bottom of the said mountain, yet was too low to reach. It was daunting and very frightening.
Ordinary swords have no sword intent. However this sword, when taken out of its scabbard, you could clearly feel its intent which was obviously extremely extraordinary.
He may have underestimated it previously. This sword should be included in the arsenal record file!
Or… it was already listed there.
The longer the painter stared at it, the more familiar it appeared to him, and the more frightened he became. A sword description that could clarify his doubts mentioned listed in the file flashed across his mind, but it was too ludicrous, and he didn’t dare jump into conclusions.
His face was solemn, “This gentleman… if I may take the liberty to ask, does this sword have a name?”
Zong Luo shook his head. “I don’t remember.”
“You don’t remember?”
Gu Ziyuan, who was accompanying him, clarified. “Brother Luo is a distinguished guest of my family’s leader. He fainted near our Confucian Cold House a year ago, and he was seriously injured, almost losing his life. Fortunately, there were physicians and medical saints present, and they worked hard to save him, which made him return from the gates of hell. Unexpectedly, after Brother Luo woke up after half a year of coma, he lost his memory. It was just like waking up after a long dream.”
Gu Ziyuan was not skilled in martial arts. He just enjoys tinkering with paintings and does not like using surveying and mapping instruments. He believes he is only happy at seeing the heart of the hunter. Yet, right now he only wanted to quickly dispel the other party’s thoughts, “This sword was always by Brother Luo’s side even at the time when he was seriously injured. It was obviously a sword he carried around everywhere before he lost his memory.”
(t/n seeing the heart of the hunter- it is a metaphor for seeing what others are doing is exactly what I liked in the past, I can’t help but be moved and want to try it; anxious to display one’s skill ; be burning with eagerness for ; be reminded of one’s old hobbies ; itch to have a try)
He said tactfully, “A gentleman does not take people’s favor. If Sir has finished his inspection, you can return it to the original owner as soon as possible.”
(t/n A gentleman does not take people’s favor(proverb)- It means that people with moral character do not ask for what others have.)
The painter was silent. He turned to the garrison and whispered something. Then faced them back again and said, “Sorry, this sword cannot be given back to you for the time being.”
“Please wait a moment. This matter is of great importance. I have sent someone to invite the commander to come and decide.”
Now it was Gu Ziyuan’s turn to be surprised.
The Great Yuan Commander– the one in charge of the capital’s garrisons and the nearly 100,000 strong Great Yuan troops. If this painter just wanted the sword, why must he also invite the Commander of the Great Yuan. Could it be that he wanted to rob it by force? This is too absurd!
“Forget it, Brother Luo. Let’s just go.”
Gu Ziyuan was a remarkable scholar with excellent self-control. However, after listening to what the person had said, his expression shifted on the spot, and he wanted to only pull Zong Luo away.
“It is said that the laws of the Great Yuan are strict, but now that I look at it, I am afraid that it is only a paper tiger. In broad daylight, they even rob a sword by force. If so, let’s not come here again!”
(t/n paper tiger-one that is outwardly powerful or dangerous but inwardly weak or ineffectual.)
Zong Luo was noncommittal. He was about to move forward when he heard a thick male voice coming from a distance.
“What seems to be the matter here?”
A big armor-clad commander carrying a steel hammer, strided forward. His eyes swept across the two people with their backs to him, which he didn’t care too much about.
The painter replied respectfully. “Reporting to the commander, this subordinate was just registering a weapon, when he suddenly discovered this peculiar sword.”
Lord Duan raised his eyebrows. “Bring it here. I’ll have a look.”
He was a man of integrity. He thought that the newly promoted painter was trying to find him to deal with the inside and outside and to swallow alone swords of others. He was about to raise his eyebrows in anger, but when he saw the sword, his eyes widened and exclaimed in disbelief, “Qixing Long Yuan?!”
(t/n inside and outside(Chinese idiom)-outside and inside forces collusion)
(t/n swallow alone-to profit without sharing with anyone else)
(t/n Qi Xing Long Yuan- Seven Star Dragon Abyss)
Everyone around was stunned when he called out the name of the sword, and there was complete silence.