The Human Emperor - Chapter 396: The Warning from the Great General of the Sui!
Chapter 396: The Warning from the Great General of the Sui!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
After entering the secret chamber and closing the door, Wang Chong immediately took out the ‘Halo of Dusk Stallion’ book that Zhao Qianqiu had given to him.
He had finally fulfilled the regret from his last life, and his excitement was hard to describe.
“It’s finally mine!”
Wang Chong gripped the book, his chest heaving. Wang Chong had not been able to find out much about the Halo of Dusk Stallion, but the little information he had gotten from those seniors in his past life was enough to stun anyone who knew what was what.
For the maximum level of the Halo of Dusk Stallion… was limitless!
As long as one was strong enough, one could essentially upgrade the Halo of Dusk Stallion infinitely, even though the amount of energy needed to upgrade would probably reach an astronomical number that existed only in myths, that a warrior could only sigh at!
With regards to the war against the foreign invaders, one person’s individual strength was far too meager. Even the powerful war god Su Zhengchen was eventually killed in the capital as he fought desperately to turn the tides.
However, the Halo of Dusk Stallion was the only thing that could make one person’s strength capable of completely changing the tides of battle.
“If there was one thing that could have helped us in this situation, it would have been the ‘Halo of Dusk Stallion’. Alas, it is already impossible for us to obtain it…”
A senior from back then had spoken these words to Wang Chong with infinite sorrow.
But now, everything was different.
Upon opening the book, Wang Chong was greeted by line after line of characters—not in the ancient seal script often used in the ancient secret technique manuals, but the small regular script1 that Wang Chong was far too familiar with.
This was clearly not the original but a hand-copied duplicate.
‘In the twenty-seventh year of the Great Sui, I, Han Zitong, accepted the order from the Divine Emperor, the Son of Heaven, and hand-copied this book!’
This first line of words on the slightly yellowed paper was so majestic that even Wang Chong couldn’t help but blink as an indescribable feeling surged through his mind.
“This is a hand-copied edition from the Great Sui Dynasty!”
Wang Chong’s eyes madly blinked as he was overcome by a strange feeling. He had not expected this ‘Halo of Dusk Stallion’ book to be a handwritten copy from Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty’s era.
And even more surprising to Wang Chong was that name: Han Zitong!
It was certain that few people knew who this was, but there was no one who did not know of his other name. Even after several centuries, his name would continue to thunder in the ears of the descendants of the noble clans: Han Qinhu!
He was one of the four Great Generals Who Upholds the State. He and the other three Great Generals—Yang Su, Heruo Bi, and Shi Wansui—were also known as the Four Pillars of the Empire. They had been on the same level as Fumeng Lingcha, Gao Xianzhi, Geshu Han, and Zhang Shougui of the present.
But the reputation of the Great Sui Dynasty’s Four Pillars of the Empire was far greater than the latter group!
This was especially the case for Han Qinhu. He was accomplished in both civil and military matters, and was called the martial god of Emperor Wen of Sui’s era. Once, he had needed only 500 soldiers to cut through enemy territory like a hot knife through butter and seize the Chen Dynasty of Jiangnan!
This person’s status in the Great Sui Dynasty was like the sun at its zenith, just like his own grandfather. Perhaps his prestige was even greater than his grandfather’s!
Emperor Wen of the Great Sui had once praised: “He has spread the might of the empire for ten thousand li, spreading the dynasty to every corner of the land. His renown soars to the heavens and his glory illuminates heaven and earth. Even if we look back to ancient times, such a man is truly rare!”
This was the utmost of praises.
Wang Chong had not expected that he was the one who had copied out the Halo of Dusk Stallion!
“What’s going on here?”
Wang Chong was somewhat astonished.
This was truly different from what he had imagined. Wang Chong had originally believed the book Zhao Qianqiu had thrown to him to be like any other martial technique, a book with sutras for the technique written on it.
But this was clearly not the the situation before him.
“The twenty-seventh year of the Great Sui? Hand-copied on the orders of the Divine Emperor, Son of Heaven? What’s going on here? Although the Halo of Dusk Stallion is formidable, Emperor Wen of the Great Sui shouldn’t have needed to specifically order Han Qinhu, a Great General Who Upholds the State, to handwrite a copy, right?”
Wang Chong’s brow deeply furrowed while turbulence raged in his mind.
The ‘Divine Emperor’ Han Qinhu spoke of could only be Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty. The Emperor of the Great Sui in its final years was famed for his tyranny and had single-handedly led the world into chaos, allowing the Great Tang to supplant the Sui.
However, in the preceding period, the Great Sui was ruled fairly, its economy prosperous. This period, called ‘The Reign of Kaihuang’ by historians, was as different from the final years of the Sui as the sky was from the earth.
Even though the Tang supplanted the Sui, historians had to admit that though the Sui had decayed, Emperor Wen was a rare wise sovereign!
But Wang Chong still did not understand why Emperor Wen had ordered Han Qinhu, a great general of the empire who had numerous matters to attend to every day, to handwrite a copy of the Halo of Dusk Stallion!
Wang Chong suddenly began to feel like this ‘Halo of Dusk Stallion’ book was not as simple as he had first imagined.
Perhaps the Halo of Dusk Stallion had failed to be passed down and eventually became a lost art not simply because it was disregarded. Perhaps it wasn’t something as simple as not finding a suitable successor!
Perhaps the loss of the Halo of Dusk Stallion had an even deeper reason behind it that he had not thought of.
Wang Chong lowered his head and continued reading.
‘I say that though an ordinary man may be without crime, a precious item can bring him disaster. The Halo of Dusk Stallion is powerful, but it is liable to bring sudden and unexpected disaster. The Divine Emperor has decreed that one who lacks the aptitude and astonishing talent cannot learn it; that one who is not a minister who can support the empire cannot learn it; that one who is not single-mindedly loyal and free of evil thoughts cannot learn it; that one lacking exceptional daring, astonishing persistence, and a courage that does not fear death cannot learn it! These four are forbidden from learning this technique!
‘The Halo of Dusk Stallion comes from the distant past and was not created by this dynasty. In dynasties past, the number of people who died learning this technique and had their relatives exterminated is beyond reckoning. Those who come after should practice caution.
‘This technique has major effects and extensive links, reaching far beyond this dynasty. Those who come after must be cautious and not easily pass it down.
‘This one has one warning that the learner must remember at all costs: Be careful of the people behind you!’
Following this blood-chilling warning was the red seal of the great general.
Upon finishing the page, Wang Chong was struck dumb, saying nothing for quite some time.
Han Qinhu was an imperial Great General of the Sui Dynasty with unrivalled military achievements. He was at least on the level of figures like Zhang Shougui and Wang Zhongsi, and he could only be higher, not lower.
Wang Chong truly could not comprehend what sort of object could frighten even Han Qinhu so. Even in this handwritten copy, he had still hesitated to reveal it. It was like he was afraid of leaking something.
What in the world could it be that made even a mighty imperial general of the Sui so fearful? To be even more direct, he was afraid!
Everything was quiet.
Wang Chong sat in the center of the secret chamber, waves raging in his mind while his entire person seemed frozen.
Wang Chong suddenly felt like some important secret that he did not understand was concealed behind the Halo of Dusk Stallion.
Time slowly passed. Finally, Wang Chong let out a long sigh.
No matter what sort of secret the Halo of Dusk Stallion concealed, he had already paid so much, had almost died. Wang Chong could not relinquish it so easily.
This was not a problem that concerned only Wang Chong himself. It also concerned Wang Chong’s plans to change the future. Without the Halo of Dusk Stallion, he would not be able to deal with the foreign invaders.
Even if Han Qinhu said that this ‘Halo of Dusk Stallion’ book concealed terrible dangers and would lead to great disasters, he had to cultivate it.
“…For Han Qinhu to speak with such solemnity, these claims aren’t necessarily baseless. I can only investigate it in the future,” Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
Once he decided on something, he did not lightly change his mind. Moreover, even though Han Qinhu was a great general from the Sui Dynasty, a martial god, Wang Chong did not think that this martial god was omniscient and omnipotent.
At the very least, Han Qinhu did not expect that the Sui would be supplanted by the Great Tang.
Moreover, Han Qinhu had mentioned that there were four kinds of people forbidden from learning the Halo of Dusk Stallion, but these four prohibitions had already been broken.
It was impossible for Wang Chong to change his mind, resolve, and plans because of these words from several centuries ago.
After steadying his mind, Wang Chong flipped the first page over and continued reading.
Like he had gone from a land of barren hills and foul waters into a village covered in bright flowers and shaded by willow trees, Wang Chong felt like his entire person had gotten lighter.
Other than the warning on the first page, the rest of the ‘Halo of Dusk Stallion’ book was surprisingly normal and composed. It was a very normal sutra for a technique.
Although the writing was very abstruse, it was nothing to Wang Chong, who had seen even more abstruse and cryptic writing.
Casting aside his thoughts, Wang Chong quickly immersed himself in the sutra.
The first cycle of the Halo of Dusk Stallion actually wasn’t that difficult. It required only a Dragon-Bone-level cultivation to practice.
Although this seemed like a simple requirement, it was actually incredibly difficult, because the majority of the noble clans, generals, and great ministers were only cultivators of the Tiger Bone level.
Only a scant few were able to reach the Dragon Bone level. It was basically restricted to the offspring of the imperial household, or the important or favored ministers rewarded by the Emperor.
By cultivating the Dragon Bone Art, Wang Chong had barely managed to temper a Flood Dragon Bone, barely reaching the requirements for the Halo of Dusk Stallion.
“I’m really too lucky!”
Wang Chong inwardly rejoiced. The Flood Dragon Bone was probably the lowest one could go to satisfy the requirements for this technique. If this hadn’t been his second rebirth, even if the Halo of Dusk Stallion manual did end up in hands, he wouldn’t have been able to cultivate it.
In an instant, Wang Chong somewhat understood why Han Qinhu had said those who were not ministers upholding the empire and single-mindedly loyal could not learn this technique.
Other than the members of the imperial clan, only those ministers who supported the empire could possibly be rewarded with a technique on the Dragon Bone level.
“This time, I’m afraid that Instructor Zhao has misunderstood.”
Wang Chong had a flash of insight. A technique on the level of the Halo of Dusk Stallion could never have easily reached his hands.
There was an eighty to ninety percent chance that Zhao Qianqiu and the head instructors of the training camp had misunderstood that this was the intention of his grandfather.
Given his grandfather’s identity and the influence he held, he had every right to let Wang Chong cultivate the Halo of Dusk Stallion.
But Wang Chong now knew that this was a complete misunderstanding.
But even if he did understand, Wang Chong could not possibly explain. Sometimes, mistakes just had to be let go, and he couldn’t care that the training camp had misunderstood.
He really did need this technique manual.
Calming himself down, Wang Chong quickly began to cultivate the first cycle of the Halo of Dusk Stallion. A heavy and edgeless sword could be wielded with the most exquisite of skills, and while the Halo of Dusk Stallion walked an imposing and domineering path, its first layer of technique required passing through twenty-seven major acupuncture points. Some of these were points that could lead to severe injury, even death.
This sort of cycle would pose a serious danger to experts of the Profound Martial realm, let alone the True Martial realm.
But Wang Chong was different. He possessed the experience and knowledge of a Saint Martial realm expert!
Lights twinkled within Wang Chong’s body as he quickly entered a state of complete emptiness.
1. ‘Seal script’ and ‘regular script’ refer to two different kinds of Chinese calligraphy. Seal script was popular during the Zhou Dynasty and is mostly illegible to modern Chinese. Regular script began to emerge in the Three Kingdoms Period and had matured by the Tang Dynasty. It is also the type of script still being used in modern Chinese calligraphy and is how people learning Chinese are introduced to the language.