The Human Emperor - Chapter 68: Tuoba Guiyuan!
“What’s your name?”
Wang Chong asked.
“I am Tuoba Guiyuan! Gongzi, you can address me as Zhang Guiyuan as well!”
Kneeling on the floor, Tuoba Guiyuan said.
Hearing those words, Wang Chong’s heart jolted. He stared at the full-bearded brawny man in shock. Wang Chong wasn’t acquainted with Tuoba Guiyuan in his previous life, but he has heard of his name.
In his previous life, he was the most famous swordsmith in the Central Plains who rose near the very end. He didn’t join any single influence, rejecting even the Zhang, Lu, Cheng, and Huang Clan. This had angered the prestigious clans, causing them to oppress him.
But with his own capability, this man created a footing for himself in the capital. His swords, marked with the word ‘Guiyuan’, could easily be sold at a price several folds more than that of the prestigious swordsmithing clans.
Before the catastrophe struck, he was the publicly accepted number one swordsmith of the Great Tang! When the Wootz steel weapons grew fame, his greatest achievement was to craft the ‘Guiyuan Sword’ which even Wootz steel sword couldn’t shatter easily. What made that feat even more impressive was that it was made of ordinary materials.
The only problem was that the crafting of the sword required great skills and contained many complex sequences. As such, even Tuoba Guiyuan himself wasn’t able to produce many of those swords successfully.
Alas, before he could come up with a perfect sword that could withstand the Wootz steel sword and be mass produced, the catastrophe struck.
Wang Chong couldn’t have imagined that the person kneeling before him was the future number one swordsmith of the world!
Wang Chong took in a deep breath. This was truly an unexpected reward! It seemed like the ‘Number One Sword in the World’ challenge which he had started didn’t just attract the prestigious clans and weapon traders, it even brought this future number one swordsmith to him.
This wasn’t something Wang Chong could have imagined possible.
One has to know that Tuoba Guiyuan was fiery-tempered. He was as though a wild and obstinate horse, impossible to be tamed by any of the clans. The fact that he had rejected the recruitment from the various swordsmithing clans proved testimony to this.
If not for Wang Chong’s hunger marketing at the Bluebottle Pavilion, he might have lost this chance to associate with the future number one swordsmith!
“This is too surprising! Even though I have forged the Wootz steel sword, it is based on the memories of my previous life, and swordsmithing isn’t my main occupation either. If I were to take him in, he’ll definitely relief me of my burden!”
Wang Chong’s heart was still beating wildly. He was already prepared to agree to the other party’s request, and his true identity came as a pleasant surprise to him.
If the future number one swordsmith were to assist him, he would be able to devote more of his attention to his future plans. It was impossible for there to be a better candidate than Tuoba Guiyuan.
Wang Chong said.
“Gongzi, I beseech you to agree to my request!”
Tuoba Guiyuan said determinedly, refusing to stand up.
“I agree to your request.”
Wang Chong said.
Tuoba Guiyuan lifted his head in disbelief. The smithing techniques and technologies of the master swordsmiths and smithing clans were all top-class secrets. It was nigh impossible for them to pass it on to an outsider.
Before coming over, Tuoba Guiyuan had looked into Wang Chong’s background and knew that the Wang Clan was a clan of generals and scholars. Meaning to say, it was of higher standing than the prestigious smithing clans. Thus, he understood that it wouldn’t an easy matter for him to join the Wang Clan, and he was prepared to go through all kinds of trouble before achieving his goal.
Tuoba Guiyuan didn’t expect that the matter would be settled so easily. Just by kneeling for a moment, the other party immediately agreed to his request. Everything came too quickly that he found the situation unbelievable.
“Gongzi, are you serious?”
Tuoba Guiyuan was still unable to believe the situation.
Wang Chong chuckled. He stretched out his hands to help Tuoba Guiyuan up. However, Tuoba Guiyuan didn’t budge in the least, as though he was rooted to the ground.
“This fellow is an expert!”
Wang Chong’s eyes widened as he thought. Possessing the cultivation of an Origin Energy Tier 5, even though his cultivation wasn’t exceptional, his strength was more than capable of smashing through rocks.
Given that Wang Chong was unable to move the kneeling Tuoba Guiyuan at all, it was clear that the other party’s cultivation was significantly higher than his. Thinking over the matter, it wasn’t really surprising for Tuoba Guiyuan to be an expert martial artist. Since he was able to survive under the oppression of the swordsmithing clans to become the number one swordsmith of the Great Tang Empire, it was impossible for him to be weak.
“Thank you, gongzi! Thank you! As long as gongzi imparts your swordsmithing techniques down to me, Guiyuan is willing to become your servant and serve you for my entire life!”
Tuoba Guiyuan was oblivious to Wang Chong’s thoughts. Hearing Wang Chong agreeing to his request, he was overjoyed. He immediately kowtowed, and the crisp sound of his head knocking against the ground echoed in the air.
Tuoba Guiyuan’s nature didn’t allow him to lower his head easily, but that depended on what was at stake. If he could learn the most advanced swordsmithing technique, Tuoba Guiyuan was willing to stake in his all.
After kowtowing, without Wang Chong’s assistance, Tuoba Guiyuan stood up on his own.
“Shen Hai, report this matter to my mother.”
Wang Chong turned around to say.
Ever since the matter with Yao Guang Yi, Wang Chong’s mother has been lax with him. As long as it didn’t affect the clan, his mother wouldn’t interfere too much in his affairs.
Shen Hai replied.
“Tuoba Guiyuan, since you have decided to follow me, you will be a member of the Wang Clan from now on. Meng Long, prepare a room for him.”
Wang Chong said.
After instructing some matters, Wang Chong headed straight to the Ghost Tree District.
Currently, Su Zhengchen’s identity was a secret and almost no one knew of the truth. Before there was any progress on the matter, Wang Chong didn’t wish for too many people to notice his existence. Thus, he didn’t bring Shen Hai, Meng Long, or Tuoba Guiyuan along with him.
Wang Chong proceeded extremely carefully.
He didn’t head straight for the Ghost Tree District. Instead, he roamed around the city and only after confirming that no one was tracking him did he sneak off to the Ghost Tree District.
At the center of the square, the crown of a massive Chinese scholar tree opened up as though an umbrella.
In here, the elders and children were absorbed in their own entertainment. Walking amidst them, Wang Chong didn’t catch anyone’s attention. At the very same position beneath the tree, Wang Chong saw the same golden-plated chessboard.
Su Zhengchen wasn’t here, but there was an additional white chess piece on the chess board!
“Lad, what’s your name?”
Wang Chong glanced at the child by the chess board and patted his head.
“Dai Jianjian. They all call me Jianjian.”
Leaning against the Chinese scholar tree, the young lad was busy licking a stick of candied haws.
Wang Chong chuckled. He found the young child cute and just when he was about to compliment him, a thought flashed across his head. Wang Chong suddenly froze.
He had heard this name before!
Back then, when the old servant of the Su Residence recounted the past history of Su Zhengchen to him, he had brought up this name. Su Zhengchen didn’t take in disciples easily and very few people were able to catch his eye.
Even so, there were still a few whom he was barely satisfied with. Although they were rejected at the very end, Su Zhengchen still personally gave them some pointers on their on their martial arts. Eventually, all of them went on to achieve great things.
This ‘Dai Jianjian’ was one of them.
‘Art of God and Demon Obliteration’ was reputed as a divine technique. Possessing destructive abilities which even immortals would go all out to avoid, this art has an extremely strict requirement of one’s root bone and talents.
Many times, when Su Zhengchen desired to pass on the technique to someone, the other party didn’t fulfill the strict criteria required to cultivate it. Rather, trying to do so forcefully would just damage their cultivation.
Even though Old Mister Su didn’t accept Dai Jianjian as his disciple, Dai Jianjian’s talents still caught his attention. As such, he kept him by his side and taught him martial arts.
“It’s his young doorkeeper!”
Wang Chong suddenly realized. The old servant had said that even though Su Zhengchen didn’t admit any disciples under him, he coincidentally picked a young child to serve as his doorkeeper.
This young child had brought Su Zhengchen much joy in his later years, and Su Zhengchen was extremely fond of him. However, he died alongside Su Zhengchen in that catastrophe.
The young child had always viewed Su Zhengchen as his grandfather. When chaos struck the capital, the old servant tried to pull him away, but Dai Jianjian hugged Su Zhengchen’s body tightly, refusing to leave with him.
Eventually, he met his demise there.
When that old servant recounted the matter, tears streamed down his face and he wailed sorrowfully.
Back then, when Wang Chong heard that story, he thought that it was lamentable as well.
Wang Chong didn’t expect to see Dai Jianjian in such a place. This time, his gaze at the young child who was focusing all of his attention on licking the candied haws was completely different.
“When that matter happened, he was only in his teens!”
Wang Chong thought.
Back then, at this timing, Su Zhengchen was still looking for a disciple. It was only after suffering countless setbacks did he truly notice this child. Life was short, and often, one only noticed one’s own mistakes after committing them.
Wang Chong suddenly felt an impulse to do something to alter Su Zhengchen and this child’s fate.
“Lad, help me do something!”
“What is it?”
The young child lifted his head, but his attention wasn’t on Wang Chong. Rather, he was still focused on licking his candied haws.
“If you are able to bring laughter to the old grandfather, I will give you a silver ingot every day!”
The young child’s eyes finally tore apart from the candied haw. Tilting his head, he stared at Wang Chong intently with his huge beady eyes. He may be young, but he knew that he was able to buy a lot of sticks of candied haws with a silver ingot.
The young child didn’t dare to believe it.
Wang Chong nodded his head seriously. For a brief moment, sorrow could be seen in Wang Chong’s eyes.
As one of the oldest and prestigious officials in the royal court and the number one expert of the military, his life was both a legend and a tragedy.
He has never been happy in his entire life.
Misfortune and sorrow followed him from his birth to his death.
Su Zhengchen carried the bloodline of a princess of the previous Great Sui Dynasty in him. Even though his results on the battlefield were outstanding, this also became the source of his misery.
When he was still a humble subordinate, no one spoke of his bloodline. But when he had finally risen through the ranks through his contribution, striking down the Turkic Khaganate, Ü-Tsang, and Goguryeo, expanding the borders of the Great Tang to the Yin Mountains, this sliver of Great Sui bloodline became his fatal flaw.
In his lifetime, countless people had framed him for plotting a revolt to overthrow the Great Tang and reinstate the Great Sui Dynasty!
This was huge taboo, regardless of which dynasty one was in!
Furthermore, it was a fact that Su Zhengchen carried the bloodline of a princess of the Great Sui in him! His outstanding military achievements and his influence in the army became a gigantic baggage for him, transforming into the arrows pointing straight at his heart!