The surrounding was dead silent.
First, it was because of Lord Duan’s exclamation of “Qixing Long Yuan”, then later they witnessed the Great Yuan Commander knelt and saluted the white-clothed gentleman. All the onlookers, from the stationed guards to the common people, had an incredulous and bitter look on their faces.
Even the little girl who had grasped her aunts’ clothes stopped crying, stuck her head out from behind, and peered curiously in front of her.
The deputy commander who accompanied Lord Duan was perplexed as well, but he did not join him and knelt down on one knee. “Commander, the Third Prince had already perished at Hangu Pass. His Majesty had conferred on him the posthumous title of crown prince, buried him in the Imperial Mausoleum, and his memorial tablet had been enshrined in Tai Temple for more than a year.”
That’s right. The Third Prince was already dead for more than a year now.
When at war, the commander was normally in command of the major forces; this was a standard procedure. Back and forth communications within the main troops were as fast as breathing. Morale would remain high as long as the flag did not fall. However, some generals on the continent were exceptionally rebellious, leading both left and right flanks of soldiers to surge to the front.
Even the reigning Emperor Yuan. When he was still a prince, was equally eager to wear armor, lead troops to battle, and create a reputation for himself in the Seven Kingdoms.
The Third Prince was already known for his bravery and good fighting skills in battle. He even led his troops and made a surprise attack. Naturally, it was impossible for him to sit in the rear and stand by idly.
Emperor Yuan ordered 100,000 troops to clear the battlefield after the war at Hangu Pass. Hundreds of thousands excavated Hangu Pass three feet from the ground, practically turning it over, yet they still were unable to find any traces of the Third Prince.
Unexpectedly, the Prime Minister, Nang Qianxue, wrote a letter of remonstrance, stating that the four countries that jointly attacked the Great Yuan had their own reasons.
The status of the Third Prince in Great Yuan was self-evident. If the future crown prince was sure to be captured, a living hostage was naturally more valuable than a corpse.
Despite that, no one from the other four countries has implied or declared that they have the Third Prince even half a month after. However, a possibility of him being alive was still there.
Unfortunately, at that moment, a consensus was reached that the Third Prince was killed at Hangu Pass.
“Commander, speak with caution!”
Not only was it for the commander, but also for the painter who was trembling and splashed ink on the ground.
As everyone knows, the current Emperor has been tyrannical and violent these days.
-One that carved the heart of wild goose claws, a paternal monarch represented by a snake. Furthermore, Emperor Yuan was very skeptical. If a false clue surfaced about the whereabouts of the Third Prince, death or severe torture will be administered instantly. It had been a common occurrence for the monarch’s relatives of nine generations to be punished. Discussing the matters of the royal family was a serious crime punishable by law.
(t/n carved heart goose claw-kind on the outside but vicious on the inside)
Gu Ziyuan, who was standing beside him, was stunned and hesitantly said, “This…. the commander is probably admitting the wrong person, right?”
Although Confucianism was an excellent school and its disciples had only been wandering around in small countries such as Bo and Huo, the name Third Prince was so well-known that it was difficult to ignore.
A weak scholar’s heart like that of Gu Ziyuan’s, who can’t even lift their hands, thinks that all the generals of Great Yuan were roughly equal to the King of Beining, the general of Wuning, known as the “God of Carnage”, who was blue-faced fangs and ferocious.
(t/n blue-faced fangs-terrifying in appearance)
However, “Gu Luo”, this close friend of the Confucian leader, was a man covered in moonlight and an excellent swordsman. Although he lost his memory due to serious injury, he had never been confused or worried. Instead, he was cheerful, optimistic and dignified.
(t/n obviously referring to Zong Lou here.)
Furthermore, he would get up every day before dawn to practice and when someone asked him some advice on swordsmanship, he would answer any questions. After a year of recuperation in the Confucian Yalu, when he decided to travel along to Great Yuan, it was no exaggeration to say that half of the entire residents saw him off. Its scale was comparable to that of a leader, which shows his high moral integrity.
Such an inherent impression made it difficult for Gu Ziyuan to associate the Third Prince of the Great Yuan with “Gu Luo”.
As for the sword, the same as all the famous swords under the land of heaven, would also wander and eventually get lost. Zhan Lu, also one of the top ten swords listed in the arsenal file, was once treasured in the Imperial Palace of Yue Kingdom. After the Yue Kingdom fell, it was taken away by Emperor Yuan, who was still a prince at that time.
If something like that could happen to Zhan Lu, the same thing could also happen to Qixing Long Yuan.
Gu Ziyuan never thought about the possibility.
“Yes, I also think you got the wrong person. You should get up first.”
Under their joint rebuttals, Lord Duan was also a little uncertain. He looked up and saw that the young master in white was still standing in front of the city gate calmly. His side profile was clear and beautiful, like that of an immortal.
The more he stared at him, the more glaring the obvious answer was.
This was clearly the Third Prince. Lord Duan couldn’t help asking himself. Apart from him, who else in the world can have such a magnificent appearance?
But if he really was the Third Prince, why had His Highness never returned to the Great Yuan, not even a word or a message of his whereabouts for more than a year? Furthermore, why did he only return now and even appear in such a state?
The more Lord Duan thought about it, the more frightened he became, but he couldn’t just sit back and watch.
Because in the final analysis, the garrison owed the Third Prince a great favor.
Although Lord Duan was an idle son of an official, if he hadn’t nearly died at the battle on Hangu Pass, he wouldn’t have taken over as the chief commander.
But, regardless of how idle you are, you can’t help but be apprehensive of individuals who you suspected to be your life benefactors.
“… This young master, can I take the liberty to ask, can you temporarily take off the white silk covering your eyes?”
Even though he believed in his heart that nine out of ten possibilities, the young man was really the Third Prince, he still needed to clear that small percent of uncertainty. Lord Duan would not give up and he would need to see the man’s eyes. Before that, he did not dare jump to conclusions.
Zong Luo, who had never spoken from beginning to end, immediately showed an apologetic smile, “A few days ago, the medical sage advised me before he left that this white silk must not be taken off and that I should wait for the old man to come back and change the dressing for me.”
This was a rejection and a blunt reason that people can’t find fault with.
The scene was at an impasse for a while.
Hearing Zong Luo’s refusal, Gu Ziyuan also added, “Don’t make it difficult for Gu Luo’er, commander, he has been seriously injured and suffered amnesia. Even if you have doubts about his identity, why not ask someone from Zongzheng Mansion to come and make a decision instead of continue asserting under the city gate.”
(t/n Zongzheng Mansion, official name Zongzheng- in charge of the emperor’s relatives or foreign relatives and other related affairs in the court)
“It’s getting late now, we have to enter the capital and take a rest. If the registration is already completed, I would also ask to let us pass as soon as possible.”
Gu Lou? His surname was Gu yet his name was the same as that of the Third Prince, was injured a year ago and lost his memory?!
Then it all makes sense! Not only did it make sense, but everything also fits perfectly. Lord Duan was suddenly in a predicament. What if he’s wrong? Then what if he’s right?
He gritted his teeth and was about to take the risk of letting his men ask the Zhengcheng Mansion’s assistant officer to come and decide, when he noticed a cloud of dust and sand from a distance, rushing towards them accompanied by the sounds of horse’s hooves and whips.
“Imperial decree arrives—”
A eunuch sat upright on horseback, unfolded the imperial edict, and read aloud:
“Receive the mandate of heaven of both longevity and eternal prosperity for thousands of days to come, the Garrison Army General will immediately open the gates of the capital to welcome the King of Beining back. Respect the order!”
The crowd was in an uproar.
King of Beining, the Wuning General and the only vassal state of the Great Yuan.
Countless rebellions led by princes from past dynasties sparked fires of war that blazed across the nation, wreaking havoc. The Great Yuan had invested scrupulous efforts for numerous generations simply to defend its land. If they followed the previous dynasty’s course, their ancestors would be so enraged that they would rise from their graves in the Imperial Mausoleum.
For this reason, in order to avoid repeating the same mistake, all the princes of the Yuan Dynasty, even Zong Luo, the Third Prince with the most outstanding achievements, were not given the title Prince.
And the brothers and sisters of Emperor Yuan, either died on the battlefield, or were killed by him, and none of them lived to see him ascend to the throne. Naturally, there was no way to talk about it.
(t/n no way to talk about it-It means that things are too complicated and there is a lot to say, but don’t know where to start.)
In the end, the only remaining relative of Emperor Yuan was the King of Beining, who had a different surname.
Although the King of Beining was still young, he was already entitled the “God of Carnage”. He led his troops to Zhenbei and reclaimed the lost land in the hands of Huns during the late emperor’s reign in barely half a year. As a result, he established a meritorious deed, a notable achievement, an unprecedented record, and became notorious across the continent.
(t/n Huns- nomadic people who lived in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe between the 4th and 6th century AD)
Because of his outstanding military exploits, Emperor Yuan’s dragon’s face was very delighted. With a wave of his hand, he was immediately promoted to the rank of nobility. He hardly even waited for the next promotion, and directly conferred him as King.
Now, the King of Beining, who had been out for more than half a year, had finally returned.
The garrison soldiers who bowed and saluted in the rear whispered, “There should be a progress in the battle at Nanliang!”
After the King of Beining settled the northern border, he was then transferred to lead the Tianji troops, focusing on external expansion. He dispatched troops to Nanliang a few years ago. After counting the days, it should be the time to return.
“This minister heeds the decree!”
As soon as the imperial edict arrived, Lord Duan didn’t have time to worry about whether the gentleman was really the Third Prince or not , and hurriedly organized the surrounding guards to clear the scene together. “Quick, quick, go to the side, and register later.”
The registration tables were removed and the people who queued to enter the capital consciously stood aside.
Seeing the commotion, Gu Ziyuan took advantage of it and pulled Zong Luo without forgetting to grab the Qixing Long Yuan sword and returned to the queueing Confucian disciples.
Now the sky was getting darker and burning red clouds could be spotted at the horizon. The guards stationed at the periphery lit up their torches and finally saw a string of fast-moving figures at the horizon where the sky and land meet.
Upon closer look, a majestic black and red war flag was hoisted above the string of figures.
The Yuan people respected dark colors. If this unyielding color would be put in the past, it would certainly be ridiculed by the other six countries. But now if it were to stand on the borders of the remaining three countries, beacon towers would immediately relay a warning faster than one point at a time, scaring the enemy to death.