Vol 2 The Great Xia Dynasty
Chapter 4: Royal Hunting
The birthplace of the Great Xia Dynasty was in Hengshui which was located at the east banks of Hongchuan. From a nomadic life, their ancestors began by living near the waters and the nearby plants and brought their folk customs and martial arts with them. The Xia Dynasty was bitter cold and the environment had limited the development for the Xia people. However, there existed the Quanrong people who constantly tried to invade the border despite that. For a thousand centuries, they’ve come. It was very hard to live in the Xia Dynasty until that man came to be. It was Luo Zhenhuang who established the Great Xia regime which made the people free to develop and breathe.
In the Great Xia’s history, almost every word was cast with blood and tears. The nature of the nomadic nation caused the relationship with them and the land to be simple. This also made easy for them to swallow Southern Bian Tang and Eastern Huai Song. Over the centuries, the Xia people continued to migrate to the west, fighting different nationalities, increasing their vast homeland. They grew to the point that they’ve exceeded more than 3000 years of history. Bian Tang became the center of commerce, Huai Song was the most fertile farmland, and the mainland gave rise to its first military power.
The Dynasty rose majestically with the bright city of Hongchuan becoming its economic and political center. The city was filled with tall buildings, business dealings, exquisite silk, powerful officials, rich and powerful merchants that shuttled back and forth on the Nine Lofty Main Streets. It was equal to any other bustling city.
The first morning bells sounded. The sound of the distant and mighty bells spread as the gates slowly opened. The sun shone on the city. Under the blood and iron order of the empire, a new day slowly started again.
A hoarse voice suddenly sounded as a dark horse came up with a white horse beside it. Riding in the snow, the hooves thundered on the ground as the snow splashed. They were followed by more than a dozen followers.
“Yan Shizi, you’re late!”
Zhuge Huai chuckled while driving his horse forward facing the person with a smile. His voice was warm. In the spring’s breeze, a pair of eyes partly narrowed with a glittering astute light. He was wearing a purple dress designed with a gold and silver carps with a Cang Wu Shan Silver jade, and snow ferret fur over his shoulder. He appeared even more elegant and clean. However, at fifteen years, he seemed more magnificent and wise beyond his age.
Standing beside him were four youths. The younger ones were 11-12 years old, while the older ones were 13-14. Everybody wore a brocade satin Chinese dress looking extraordinary. Hearing this voice, together they turned their heads to look and locate where it came from.
Yan Xun reined in his horse at the call. His snow-white horse stomping on the ground with a loud neigh and firmly stopping on the snow. He wore a deep purple dress with snow white fur over his shoulders, “When brother Zhuge received the news that the Eighth Princess is home, you wanted to get out. It is going to be somewhat difficult, you wait.”
“Originally, that beautiful woman kept harassing Yan Xun, ruining his fun.” A pine green brocade gown wearing boy walked up. He had soft voice, with eyes slanted like a fox general. He looked to be 11-12 years old, with a sneaky smile on his face.
Yan Xun looked at him indifferent, “Prince Jing Xiao should not be laughing. At the state banquet the day before, I, who if not for Prince Jing Xiao, would not have broken the Princess’s glass. Today there will be no such good fortune flying this way. I will thank Prince Jing in advance.”
Jing Xiao smile slowly faded to a slight huff before turning to look at another young boy in a blue gown. “See Mu Yun, I said Yan Shizi would not let it go. He never fails my expectations. ”
Mu Yun slightly raised his eyebrows: “This is the root of the imperial people who makes you suffer a little? Yan Shizi is good-tempered. For me, he was very kind to me yesterday evening on the way to your house.”
“In the end, he is better? If you want to chat with just him, I might as well go back.”
Another young man in a Jinpao walked up. On his waist hung a bright yellow bow, looking regal. Yan Xun seemed to have noticed him and jumped off his horse in a respectful salute, “Yan Xun greets His Highness Seventh Prince.”
Zhao Chexie shot a diagonal glance at Yan Xu. His mouth pulled slightly at the greeting and then looked at Zhuge Huai straight on,” Eighth younger brother and I have a dinner we must go to in the Shangshu room, we do not have that much free time.”
Zhuge Huai laughed, “Since Yan Shi came, let us start!”
Prince Jing Xiao smiled and clapped his hands, “Zhuge did you find any new stuff? Quickly take it out to show me.”
Zhao Jue said, “Over there I see a pile of animal cages. Zhuge, you didn’t ask us to go hunting for no meaning did you?
Zhuge Huai shook his head and mysterious, said, “Today, you are looking at something I have given a lot of thought.” Having finished, he reached out to gently and shot twice. The sound was crisp and reverberated far in the pale snow.
An empty paddock enclosed by a fence was opened in the distance, and the entourage of Zhuge Huai pushed their six carriages into the paddock. The six large cages were lined in the open space and was covered with a black cloth. They could not even see what was inside.
Prince Jing Xiao became interested, “What is inside? Zhuge, don’t let us keep guessing.”
Zhuge smiled, facing them with a wave, all of them piled in, together with Prince Jing. When they came in, they gawked slightly and then immediately happily smiled.
They saw that the huge cages were not filled with old but with children, seven or eight-year-old. Each cage had twenty people. Everyone was wearing a homespun cloth gown, with a piece on the front with prisoner written in big characters. They all didn’t seem to belong together though. Zhuge, Zhao Che, and Zhao Jue saw some had “Che” and “Jue” written as a distinction. There were many words written, each word was not the same. The group of children were kept in a black cage for a long time. To suddenly see the light, they were suddenly blinded. Panic-stricken, they crowded together, eyes panicked, like a group of timid rabbits.
Zhuge Huai laughed, “A while back some officials went to the Western Regions and came across a barbarian caravan. This the game that they taught me … Later, I will ask people to remove the cage, and release the cage of wolves. Those animals haven’t eaten for three days and are red-eyed. We can hunt them and the slaves in the other cage. You protect your own slaves. After a stick of incense, whoever has the most slaves remaining, wins.
Jing Xiao laughed, then clapped, “Sure enough, a little mean, but fun.
Zhuge Huai said, “Then let us begin, give everyone 30 arrows.” Having said that, he turned his head to a subordinate, “Zhu Shun, open the cage.”
Under the command, the padlock to the cage was removed. The children were shivering standing in place. It was as if they were still trapped in their cage, they did not dare to move out.
Suddenly, they heard the wailing roars. On both sides of the fence the gate was opened. More than twenty ferocious wolves suddenly rushed into the paddock. With their big mouths opened they growled and rush to the children!
Huge screams resounded immediately. The seven-year-old children were shouting and panicking all together, running towards the opposite direction of the wolves. Concurrently, outside the fence, sharp arrows flew inside. But, those arrows were not meant for the wolves, but for the children.
Strong bloody scent filled the sky. Mournful screams and howling could be heard as well. Arrows were shot through the children’s thin shoulder blades, chests, and abdomens. Blood gurgling out of their thin bodies like blossoming crimson safflower. This excited the wolves making them more ferocious. Even the fiercer Tongti Tibetan blue wolf quickly jumped in. It bit a child ‘s neck. That child didn’t even have time to scream before another wolf tore off a thigh. Then, the child’s head was bitten in half. The blossoming brain matter and blood mixed into one, splashing out, sprinkling on the white land.
In that world of chaos, the fierce pitiful yells were lingering on faintly. Jing Yuer’s shoulder was in extreme pain. Her eyelids were heavy and her little body was riddled with arrows and mercilessly nailed to the ground. Her breathing grew weak as if she was dead, but her brow wrinkled tightly together. More and more tightly knit. A fierce wolf slowly closed in, eyes gleaming as it watched the child. So close, as it’s saliva started to drip on the child’s cheek.
Somewhere, it seemed that God’s eyes were watching the tragedy of the world of mortals. At the moment when the wolf dropped its head to give her the kiss of death, the child’s eyes suddenly opened. As sharp as a knife, not having even a half of a minute to be timid and weak, the child reached out almost instinctively. Catching the wolf’s upper and lower jaw, raised her head, and bit the wolf’s extended tongue. This caused the wolf to cry out!
A sharp howling resounded and everyone turned their heads to see the child fiercely biting the wolf’s tongue. Stunned, they forgot about archery.
Zhao Che was first to react. Seeing the child with that big “penetrating” character, he laughed while shooting the wolf’s throat.
TN: The Second Part is coming later after I get off of work. This was a really long chapter. This is only half of it. Lol. See you in about 12 hours with part 2