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There was an old saying: One may be enjoying the scenery from the bridge, but the one truly enjoying the scenery is the one watching you from the tower.
Fang Zhengzhi felt that way right now. Before this, he was standing by the side watching others try to extract the sword. Now, everyone else was watching him.
The person had changed, but the result was still the same.
"Come on out, be obedient!" Fang Zhengzhi stroked the sword hilt and cooed. Then, he grabbed the hilt with both hands and pulled.
All the officials stared wide eyed at Fang Zhengzhi. They had no idea what game he was trying to play, but the sword had not moved a single inch.
"Is he really acting?" One of the officials asked doubtfully.
"Could it be that even he can't extract the sword?" Another official postulated.
"How can it be? The sword was stabbed into the ground by him, how can he fail to extract it? The sword already recognizes him as its owner!"
"Does he really dare to defy an order from the Emperor?"
All the officials began to chatter among themselves. They could not believe that Fang Zhengzhi himself could not extract the sword.
There were only two possibilities. One, Fang Zhengzhi was defying an order from the Emperor, two, even Fang Zhengzhi himself could not extract the sword.
Defy an order?
That was virtually impossible. Even if Fang Zhengzhi had the courage to do it, he stood to gain nothing...
"Even he cannot pull it out? Could it be that... he's not the owner?!"
When this official spoke up, everyone began to look at Fang Zhengzhi differently.
Before this, Wan Chong and General Jin had attempted to extract the sword without the Emperor giving a direct order for them to do so.
But now that he had ordered Fang Zhengzhi to extract it, failing to do so would be a heinous crime!
Yan Xiu, Xing Qingsui, and the others all grew increasingly nervous seeing that Fang Zhengzhi could not pull the sword out. Why is it taking so long?
Something is wrong.
King Duan and the Heir's initially solemn expressions quickly brightened up. They would have a chance if Fang Zhengzhi could not extract the sword.
King Liqin's expression was still mixed. The feeling from his eyes were completely different from Chi Guyan's. Her eyes were shining like stars in the night sky. On the other hand, he was like a statue.
Everyone looked at Fang Zhengzhi.
Chi Guyan included. Her eyes glimmered. She could tell that Fang Zhengzhi was putting in a lot of effort into trying to pull out the sword, but the result was not what she expected.
"Did someone mess with it?" Chi Guyan quickly dismissed the idea. There was no one who could have meddled with it in front of King Liqin and Emperor Li Mubai.
He really couldn't extract it?
Fang Zhengzhi was indeed struggling to pull out the sword. He had tried again and again, but the sword refused to budge. The cold wind continued to brush against his face.
After some time, Emperor Li Mubai's expression began to change. As the Emperor, he could not rush Fang Zhengzhi. All he could do was glance in the direction of Left Prime Minister Yu Yiping.
Yu Yiping immediately understood what the Emperor wanted. He stepped out, "Fang Zhengzhi, age is catching up with King Liqin, don't let him stand out in the cold for too long."
"Exactly, quickly pull the sword out!"
"Fang Zhengzhi, do you really have the audacity to defy an order from the Emperor?"
All of the other officials began to chime in.
Fang Zhengzhi began to sweat profusely. He too wanted to pull the sword out quickly, but the story was completely out of control.
What could he do?
"Come on, stop throwing a tantrum! Come on out?"
"If you come out, I will take you to see nice scenery! The world is huge and it would be very boring for you if you stayed here."
Fang Zhengzhi continued to speak to the reactionless sword.
The expressions on all of the officials' faces changed drastically upon hearing Fang Zhengzhi's words. What is he talking about? Don't we stay here all the time too?
This is the throne room, a place where many people want to enter but can't.
"We have gone through so much together. Think about it, I brought you out from the World of the Sage. We are meant to be together, by each others' side. Isn't that a great thing?" Fang Zhengzhi continued, ignoring the gazes of the other officials.
All of them were puzzled upon hearing this. Is Fang Zhengzhi talking to the blade? Even if the sword had a spirit, can it understand human language?
All of the officials looked at Fang Zhengzhi, clearly dumbfounded.
However, Ping Yang, Yan Xiu, and the others did not think that way.
They had seen Fang Zhengzhi use such 'nonsense' to convince the sword to follow him out of the World of the Sage. Fang Zhengzhi was using the same tactic now.
"You still don't want to come out? Do you want me to tell you another story?" Fang Zhengzhi looked on doubtfully.
"Hum!" The Traceless Sword hummed.
F*ck... me! Fang Zhengzhi was speechless. This is the throne room! Is having such an arrogant and willful sword truly a good thing?
The worst part was...
He was telling the story of "Water Margin" yesterday. He had just finished the one about Wu Song defeating the tiger. The next one in line was about Pan Jinlian and Ximen Qing
"Fang Zhengzhi, what do you think you're doing? Are you trying to defy an order?" Yu Yiping glared at Fang Zhengzhi whilst he chuckled to himself.
Fang Zhengzhi was completely exasperated, but he had no other choice. He had to do it.
"Your highness, your commoner needs some preparation."
"Preparation?" Emperor Lin Mubai was slightly confused by Fang Zhengzhi's words.
"Yes, just like how one needs to prepare rations before a battle, I need to prepare too before I extract the sword." Fang Zhengzhi replied.
"Mm, approved." Emperor Lin Mubai nodded.
All of the other officials were speechless. What is there to prepare? That being said, they were all rather impressed by Fang Zhengzhi's ability to understand the concept of preparing sufficient rations before a battle.
Fang Zhengzhi began to narrate the story without hesitation.
"After Wu Song killed the tiger, he became a constable in the province... there was a powerful family in the province, who had a chambermaid named Pan Jinlian. She was in her early twenties and exceedingly beautiful. The lord of the family wanted to make her his mistress, but she did not want that. She went to report this to the lord's wife. In a fit of anger, the lord..."
Fang Zhengzhi continued to narrate the story. All of the officials felt something was amiss. What is this story? Why haven't we heard of it?
When Fang Zhengzhi got to the point where Pan Jinlian seduced Ximen Qing...
Ping Yang flushed and pouted, "This guy is so incredibly shameless!"
Chi Guyan also could not believe her ears.
She knew that Fang Zhengzhi was shameless, but she never expected him to narrate such a story in the throne room. He even had the audacity to call this preparation?!
It was unbelievable.
All of the officials were angered by what they were hearing. How can such a person manage to top the Theory Examinations?
"I will never want to be associated with this man!"
"This person is a disgrace to all the academics!"
"This is an insult to our culture and heritage!"
All of the officials raged, anger building up in their chests. If not for the fact that the Emperor had approved this, they would have called for his head.
Emperor Lin Mubai smiled bitterly as he heard Fang Zhengzhi continue to narrate the story.
Fang Zhengzhi ignored all of them. This is one of the best classics from the previous world, what is so shameless about it?
Fang Zhengzhi continued narrating.
The Emperor and the other officials were forced to listen by the side.
Fang Zhengzhi finally got to the point where Wu Song killed Ximen Qing at the Mandarin House, leaving blood writing behind. All of them were captivated by the story, and began to secretly applaud it.
It was almost as if a huge load had been lifted off their shoulders.
All of them had felt something on their chest throughout this court session. However, they were all relieved by Fang Zhengzhi's story. It was unbelievable.
At this point, a soft hum could be heard. A ray of light shone skyward and landed in Fang Zhengzhi's hand. It was the traceless sword.
"That's... that's all it took?!"
"What's going on?"
"This is unbelievable!"
"This is a story for the ages!"
All of the officials were stunned when they saw the Traceless Sword in Fang Zhengzhi's hand. Why would the blade release itself after the story?
Fang Zhengzhi did not bother explaining anything to the officials. He gently gripped the sword and walked hastily to the door of the throne room, placing the sword in King Liqin's hand.
"My lord, this sword is named Traceless!"
"Can't he see the huge purple mark?"
All of the officials saw the strange purple mark on the sword. They were all confused. Who gave the sword its name?
King Liqin stared at the sword in his hand. He examined it from hilt to blade, finally getting to the strange purple mark at the tip. His eyes finally began to show some life.