“Where ever the sky may form, the dragon may roam.”
At a time when the western world was steeped in barbarity and greed, the eastern world was undergoing a golden age. It was a time of strange magic and powerful men. Cultivators and Practioners of the art of Dao guided the fates of all mankind. In the Tang Imperial Court of Chang’an The Emperor Daizong reigned supreme. A masterly cultivator in his own right, he had progressed to the Heavenly King stage of cultivation when he was in his twenties, now in his forties he was still stuck at the same stage. Although in all of Tang Empire there were none who could progress beyond the Heavenly King Stage, the memory of legendary heroes who had ascended to Heavenly Emperor, Heavenly Saint or even Heavenly Deity Stage were still fresh in the people’s minds. Scheming court officials further incited bards and playwrights to write stories and epic sagas of these legendary heroes to further undermine the Emperor’s influence. Of course being a Rank 9 Heavenly King, his might was yet unchallenged, but whispers spoke of one who could challenge this hegemony. The prodigal cultivator, the smiling sage of Tien’Shan, Zang Xuan.
A thousand trumpets blow his arrival, finally having graduated from the prestigious Chang’an academy with top marks. He walks up the ten thousand jade steps in a practiced poise and form. His blue silk robe glitters in the afternoon sun, his usually unruly long flowing hair has been braided handsomely into a double pleat, with ivory pins. He looks every inch the prodigy he is. With every step the girls that have gathered en-masse in the crowds around the steps let out a sigh. With a most natural ease he suddenly glances up, his twinkling eye catching the eyes of many pretty ladies in a carefree fashion. Of course if the swooning ladies knew his thoughts, perhaps they would not swoon so.
*Bwahahahahaha, maybe I should flick my hair.*
He thought before giving his braid a casual flick.
A thousand ladies nearly fainted. The loud chatter of the women folk reached fever pitch. His ears perked up as their gossip fell on them.
"They say he is a master of all the lover arts, including the forbidden lover art tomes of western knowledge."
"Impossible, no one has even heard of the forbidden lover tomes in centuries."
"Well he is a genius sage. I heard he bedded three thousand women and discovered the forbidden lover tomes through sheer experience."
*Dahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, this is the best, I can’t believe those prudes at the academy kept me away from this paradise for so long. Fucking ingrates.*
The final jade step led up to the golden double doors of the inner court, by now the crowd had thinned. Only high court officials and their families were allowed this far up the Heavenly Pagoda of the Tang Emperor. Two stoic guards eyed him suspiciously. No sooner had he taken a step towards the doors that they clashed their halberds together with a loud clang. When they spoke, their voices rang out with such force that the people around were nearly blown off their feet.
“WHO DARES APPROACH THE HEAVENLY PAGODA!”
Zang winced but did not budge a single step.
*Qi infused shout, so even the royal guards are practioners. As expected of the Emperor. Hmmph.*
He folded his hands in salute to the royal guards and spoke his response. When he opened his mouth his words flowed out with the gentle wind of spring. The leaves and flowers of the trees that lined the ten thousand jade steps quivered with excitement. After all he too knew how to infuse Qi into his words.
“Where the sky will form, the dragon will roam, where the river will flow the fish will swim, where the heavens demand, this fool Zang will follow! Zang Xuang has arrived to greet the great Heaven’s voice on this Earth as requested.”
The two royal guards were taken aback by the sheer weight of his words, the gentle force of his qui nearly overwhelming them. Each of them had taken a step back without even realizing it. Realizing that they had lost this duel they bowed their heads in shame and opened the doors.
*Fucking finally, show some respects to this genius you bastards. I wonder what great riches the Emperor has in store for me, whatever I don’t care for the Emperor. Maybe I will take the riches and travel the lands and find a suitable kingdom to settle down in. Ohohohoho, life is good when you are a genius scholar like me*
The gates slammed shut behind him while he was absorbed in his thoughts. With beaming confidence he prepared to salute the great Emperor, however when he opened his eyes hee realized that something was amiss. Instead of the courtesans and ministers lined along the great walls there were only soldiers. Row upon row of soldiers well armed, he noted spears, halberds, swords and even repeating crossbows. Not exactly the welcome he expected.
*This is a little…*
Then he finally saw the Emperor, he was seated on his golden dragon throne and he seemed to be very angry. A minister walked out from behind the throne, he was old and bent with age with a flowing white beard.
He recognized the man, this old fool was the guardian of that ugly wench he had allegedly bedded that night when he had finally gotten a chance to sneak out of the Academy. The old bastard was a minster of the royal court?
“Zang Xuang, commoner of Tien'Shan. You stand accused today of violating an Imperial Daughter of the House of Tang. “
*WHAT? THAT UGLY WENCH WAS….RO…RO…ROYALTY? But that would mean that this old bastard was related to the Imperial Sect*
“Have you anything to say in defence?”
He spoke without thinking and his voice came out small, a mere squeak that was easily lost in this great hall.
“So you have nothing to say. Of course you have nothing to say, to violate an Imperial Daughter with your filthy seed and then to run away afterwards and dropping a few coins as recompense, the insult you have so rudely provided to his majesty is too great.”
How the hell did that old man have such a booming voice, could it be that even he was a practioner? Suddenly the words of his first teacher came back to him.
“In Chang’An, there is practioner behind every house, a swordmaster behind every inn and a Royal behind every door. Be careful.”
He gulped, his throat felt very dry all of a sudden. He looked around the soldiers, all seemed to be made of iron. Their faces hard and emotionless, his stance rigid. Ready to slay him at a single command. A bead of sweat lined his forehead.
“For this grave crime you are sentenced to death, the sentence will be carried out in four days time. Until then you are to be imprisoned. Soldiers, take away this offensive rural oaf.”
A thousand incidents replayed in his mind, his childhood danced before his eyes, his first days in Chang’an, the arrogance of the city nobility and their children, his fellow classmates and their prejudice, their hatred on realizing Zang was better than him, the warning of his friends to not get too arrogant.
Before he knew it his environs had changed. No longer was the sage smiling in the royal court, instead he was sitting shell shocked in a grey cell, bound hand and foot with iron chains. Two guards mocked him even as they locked him up.
“Look at that, he’s drooling now. Hah, his mind is gone. What a weakling.”
“What a joke, all these rich bastards are the same, they pretend they are all that but one wiff of reality and they deflate like so.”
As the cell door slammed shut he finally snapped out of his daze. Tears welled up in his eyes and finally he found his voice once more.
“I….I CAN’T DIE LIKE THIS DAMMIT!”
“After all, what will happen to this story if I do.”