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Chapter 632 – Seventeen Rebellious Princes
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The red of the river flowers at dawn surpass fire.
(TN: A line from 'Remembering Jiangnan' by Bai Juyi. The following line is "The river waters in spring are as green as bluegrass.")
It was currently still late at night, yet a gaily-colored red flower was quietly blooming amongst the numerous blue-green waves.
Two people were standing at the bow of the ship. One was a man dressed in the attire of a scribe, with a red flower, real or made of silk, tied to his pinkie finger. The other person was a Daoist nun, her age difficult to tell. Her appearance could be considered delicate and pretty, yet there was a vicious aura about her that engendered disgust in others. The horsetail whisk she held in her arms gave off a terrifying Qi of extinction, somewhat contradictory with her appearance.
Chen Changsheng recognized the Daoist nun, knew that she was Wuqiong Bi of the Storms of the Eight Directions.
On the ten thousand li journey from Mount Han to the capital, he had also seen that little red flower. Since that scribe was standing by Wuqiong Bi, he was naturally another member of the Eight Storms: Bie Yanghong.
Wuqiong Bi had once infiltrated the capital and had prepared to kill Xuanyuan Po in the Orthodox Academy, but was forced into startled retreat by Su Li's letter. Tonight, however, she came with her husband to the capital. From a certain perspective, they were coming to save him. The complex feelings Chen Changsheng was feeling were because of this.
"This dunce actually dares to come to the capital."
The Tianhai Divine Empress gazed at the large ship on the screen of light and expressionlessly said, "A single finger is enough to pinch her to death, but her man isn't bad, worth at least three of her."
Chen Changsheng didn't know what to say. Whether it was the two men on the official road to the northwest or this couple on the canal to the southwest, they were all regarded as gods in the hearts of the world's cultivators, but in the Tianhai Divine Empress's words, besides Bie Yanghong, none of them could make her the least bit wary.
But after all, she was the Tianhai Divine Empress.
What Chen Changsheng felt was naturally different from what she felt.
Of the Eight Storms, four had come.
Tonight, storms would certainly sweep over the gloomy skies of the capital, the heavens would sway and the earth would shake.
This was only the grand lifting of the curtain. Soon after, countless people took the stage, one after the other.
In the official roads that spread out like a spider web from the capital, many armies appeared. These people seemed to have always been concealed in the darkness, just waiting for these four supreme experts to appear. Then, they could suddenly tear through the darkness and appear before the entire world, just as they had done for the past two hundred years.
The official roads were the roads leading from the various counties and provinces to the capital.
Those people had always been living in those counties and provinces far away from the capital. They all shared an identical characteristic: they were all surnamed Chen, all descendants of Emperor Taizong.
Chen Changsheng stared at the constantly changing scenes, silently counting. He confirmed that in the darkness, fifteen armies were heading towards the capital.
Those people coming from the various princes' estates of the counties and provinces were not numerous, but they were all experts. Those experts traveling around the imperial carriages were at least at the upper level of Star Condensation. Over these past two-hundred-some years, especially in the most recent twenty, the Chen Imperial clan had seemed to almost silently go into hiding, but tonight, they finally revealed their incomparably deep and hidden strength!
Fifteen counties or provinces, fifteen princes, fifteen imperial carriages.
In the darkness, dust rose up from the official roads and collided with the wind and clouds, swept up until it arrived in the outskirts of the capital.
The capital of the Great Zhou had no city walls, but it did have a city gate, as well as a City Gate Department, under the command of the Divine General of the East Xu Shiji. Yet…how could the City Gate Department possibly obstruct these imperial carriages from the provinces and counties? Who knew which general of the City Gate Department was the disciple of some prince, which military officer's father was still working as the chief bodyguard of the Prince of Luling?
Several of the city gates exploded with ripples of Qi and indistinct sword glows, then they quickly faded away.
The princes of the Chen clan finally returned to the capital that they had long been parted from.
Those experts by the imperial carriages of the princes watched the darkness with determined expressions, prepared at any time to confront the suppression of the Great Zhou Army. If these experts required description, they could be described with a single phrase: heroes of the world. They had sufficient confidence in their own strength and cultivation, and they believed that what they were doing was right.
"Outstanding heroes gathered in the capital, attempting to behead the Demon Empress in the autumn night and cast it away, spilling hot blood and using their bodies to die for the country?"
The Tianhai Divine Empress viewed these scenes in the darkness, not concealing her scorn in the slightest. "Tens of thousands of years later, perhaps this is what will be written in the history books—truly an absurd matter."
Chen Changsheng looked at those experts who carried fervent expressions in silence for a few moments before asking, "Then how should it be written?"
"On the twenty-first year of the Great Zhou Dynasty's Zhengtong era, seventeen rebellious princes entered the capital. All were exterminated."
The Tianhai Divine Empress indifferently stated, lightly flicking her sleeve, as if brushing away all this into smoke and ashes.
Chen Changsheng thought, where are the other two rebellious princes?
Several hundred li away from the capital, in Luoyang, there were not many clouds tonight, the innumerable stars in the sky shining over the world as they usually did, whether it was the stench-ridden alleys where the poor resided or the red-lacquered doors in the northern part of the city.
The great gate of the prince's estate was slowly pushed open and the Prince of Xiang walked out. With great difficulty, he moved his obese body down the stone steps. With the assistance of his subordinates, after a long while, he was finally able to clamber into the not-at-all-high imperial carriage. Even a simple action such as this left him gasping for breath.
Upon sitting down, his belly fat drooped down over his bright yellow belt, looking rather uncomfortable.
The Prince of Xiang untied the yellow belt and massaged the fat, and his heart was suddenly filled with a feeling of deep sorrow.
He had lived in Luoyang for so many years, and for the sake of avoiding the attention of his imperial mother, he had eaten and drunk to the utmost. He had grown so fat that in the future, if he was able to ascend to the imperial throne, how could he accept the obeisance of the numerous officials with such an appearance? But it was still fine; at least he wasn't like the seventh brother, actually throwing donkey dung into his mouth in order to feign madness. Feh, that was a true madman!
Everyone in the prince's estate, whether it was his concubines or his subordinates, kneeled down in a dense mass on the long street and said as one, "Congratulations to Your Highness on returning to the capital."
The Prince of Xiang sighed at the crowd, saying, "What's there to congratulate me over? Only ghosts know if I'll be able to come back alive."
The street outside the prince's estate became extremely quiet, those favored concubines of his looking at each other in dismay. Someone began to mournfully cry, yet it was impossible to know if it was sincere.
The Prince of Xiang, rather annoyed, waved his hand. "You're crying over this? Fine, fine, if I can't come back, all of you commit suicide and accompany this prince."
Hearing this, the street once more grew quiet, and then broke out into mass weeping. This time, it was very obvious that the concubines and subordinates were weeping with sincerity, overcome with grief.
In the street outside the provincial mansion of Jiangnan province, a similar scene occurred, but not completely the same.
The Prince of Zhongshan walked out of the kneeling crowd with no emotions on his pale face. Only in the very depths of his slightly bloodshot eyes could some madness be made out.
As he walked, a trail of clear footprints were left outside the prince's estate, footprints of blood.
Like he had walked out of a sea of blood.
In truth, at this moment, the estate of the Prince of Zhongshan had already become a sea of blood. Those subordinates dispatched by the Imperial Court were collapsed in pools of blood, their heads separated from their bodies.
All of them had been personally killed by the Prince of Zhongshan.
Only one person had not been killed, a chief eunuch. He was currently being forced to kneel behind the gate of the prince's estate.
This chief eunuch was very old, his face covered in wrinkles. He clearly knew that he was about to die, yet his expression was calm. He gazed at the Prince of Zhongshan who was about to board the carriage and said, "Your Highness, since you did not kill me, presumably Your Highness does not wish to completely fall out with the Empress. The journey to the capital is long. There is no harm in Your Highness taking your time, to look at the situation and then consider what to do."
This was exceptionally exquisite advice. First he offered an explanation for the Prince of Zhongshan, then he proposed a plan, a truly wise and prudent plan.
The Prince of Zhongshan ignored the old eunuch. Leaping onto the imperial carriage, he said, "I didn't kill you because I wanted to leave myself some retreat, I just want you to try out what I've been feeling all these years."
The old eunuch's complexion changed at these words, no longer able to keep his composure.
Under the escort of several dozen elites of the prince's estate, the Prince of Zhongshan's imperial carriage entered the darkness, heading towards the capital.
Only the prince's bone-piercingly cold voice still resonated in the street.
"Don't let this old dog die, but don't give him food to eat. Only give him donkey dung. Remember, it has to be fresh, the freshest."
Storms swept over the gloomy sky and met.
Seventeen rebellious princes entered the capital.
Seeing these scenes in the darkness, Chen Changsheng knew that he was witnessing the most important event on the continent since the tragic incident of the Orthodox Academy.
He was the cause of this event, or the introduction. When he thought of the many people that would die tonight, the many commoners that would be left wandering and homeless in the aftermath, or killed in the chaos of war, his emotions grew somewhat agitated and uneasy. He only felt a ball of disgust in his stomach and couldn't help but cough. Every cough only deepened his pain, his face growing paler and paler.
"This preposterous show is very interesting. Watch a bit more and then die. Don't die too early."
The Tianhai Divine Empress had heard his coughs and, without turning around, impassively advised.
With these words, Chen Changsheng suddenly sensed that he could move.
He knew that this was her intention. He was pondering if he could do anything else.
He had Su Li's letter in his bosom, he still had many swords in his sheath. He had the Heavenly Tome Monoliths and much more.
Yet her figure was so lofty and grand. She was under the night sky, yet she seemed above it.
He put his hand in his bosom. H didn't take out the letter, but a small porcelain bottle.
This bottle contained medicine.
He poured out several dozen pills from the bottle. Without differentiating them, he threw them into his mouth and began chewing on them like candies, the pills crunching as he ate.
Upon coming to the peak of the Mausoleum of Books, the Divine Empress had not once turned to look at him, but upon hearing this sound, she glanced at him.
Chen Changsheng paid no attention to her gaze. Soon after, he unwrapped the metal needles from his finger and stabbed them into several critical Qi openings on his neck.
His face paled even more and his body began to tremble as if he could not stand the autumn wind.
With the passing of time, the trembling gradually ceased and on his face appeared two rather abnormal patches of blood.
The Divine Empress's enemies, one by one, appeared in the darkness, not because this was their best opportunity, but because it was their last.
If they allowed her to kill Chen Changsheng and complete the third changing of fate in the past one thousand years, then perhaps no one would ever be able to invite her off the Great Zhou imperial throne.
The supreme experts who lived secluded from the world, the princes of the Imperial clan who had patiently waited, the heroes of the world who had silently suffered, all converged upon the capital. But this was not all, because the world was vast and the Divine Empress's enemies numerous. On the official road to the south, figures gradually appeared. The Mount Li Sword Sect sent no one, Holy Maiden Peak sent no one, Scholartree Manor sent no one, the Longevity Sect sent no one, but the Qiushan clan head and that old Guardian came, the Old Lady of the Mutuo clan came, and the wily head of the Wu clan came. Of the Four Great Clans, three had come, but what of the Tang clan?