GOR Chapter 74: Bronze Men And Big Tree
Nangong produced a piece of paper and scrawled out a map of the area.
“The shape of the palace is roughly similar to the character ‘品’ (grade). Three palace buildings are situated around while the middle area is an empty square. At the centre of the three ‘口’ are an arch bridge and an upward platform.
However, there is a problem. We have been moving around in this area for nearly 2 hours. We have explored every place of the bottom two palace buildings, the two ‘口’ at the bottom. Both of them have gates and stairs leading down to the empty central square.
However, the main palace building up top remains inaccessible. The gates are closed and we were not able to even ascend the stairs. It was as though an energy of some sort was blocking us.
As for the other two great palace buildings, Qin terracotta soldiers will patrol about. These things are like ghosts, appearing all of a sudden at short intervals at unknown locations. We fought with them twice and killed no small number of them. However, when we returned, we found that the broken stone debris left by them on the grounds where we had fought had disappeared. It seems there are no end to these things.”
After saying that, Nangong turned to gaze at Miao Yan.
After Chen Xiaolian finished helping Lun Tai with the bandaging, he too moved over. He inspected the map drawn by Nangong and pondered before saying. “It seems the problem resides in the main palace building… can we only get there through the central open square? Is there no other way? Can we jump over from the rooftop of the side halls?”
Nangong smiled bitterly. “Did you think we hadn’t thought of that method? Lun Tai’s injuries came about due to that. We went to the highest peak of the left palace building and attempted to jump through the walls. As a result, we realized that there is a form of energy sealing the area, leading to us being unable to cross over – Additionally, that place is also a dead-end. A group of Qin terracotta soldiers then blocked us off and surrounded us. We were nearly wiped out back then.”
“That must be a game restriction,” Chen Xiaolian knitted his brows. “We can only enter the central square through the side palace building, then use the stairs to enter the main palace building. However, a seal is blocking off the stairs. In other words, there must be a certain quest requirement that we have yet to clear.”
“Could it be to kill the guardian?” Miao Yan’s eyes lit up and she looked at Chen Xiaolian. “Didn’t you guess that the guardian is Bai Qi? We will find him and slay this fellow.”
Chen Xiaolian could not help but roll up his eyes.
Kill Bai Qi…
Could Bai Qi be so easy to kill?
Just by listening to his name, you can be certain that he is a big BOSS type of existence.
“What does the central square looks like? Are there any special particulars there?” Chen Xiaolian shifted his attention to the central square.
“… There is,” Nangong said in an earnest tone. “There are a few special particulars. There are 12 metal men.”
Chen Xiaolian’s eyes lit up!
12 metal men.
Naturally, they are not made of gold, but bronze. The 12 bronze men. 
According to historical records, after Qin Shi Huang unified the world, he feared that revolts would occur. Thus, he issued a command for all weapons within the country to be collected, smelted and forged into 12 bronze men statues. The historical records states: ‘Round all weapons under the Heavens, assemble them in Xianyang, expunge all thoughts with the ring of the bell and 12 bronze men, each as heavy as a thousand stones, placed within the palace’.
“En, what else are there besides the bronze men?”
As Nangong was pondering about it, Bei Tai beside him suddenly mumbled. “There is also a crooked tree.”
This made Chen Xiaolian stunned:
The palace hall proper is constructed around a crooked tree?
What kind of custom is that?
It is completely inconsistent with the etiquettes and laws of the Imperial Family.
Why would a big tree be planted in the square within the Imperial Family’s great palace?
“Do not listen to his ramblings. It is not a crooked tree, but a catalpa tree,” Nangong frowned. “After reaching the great hall earlier, I felt bewildered. So, I went closer to check it out. That catalpa tree is not crooked. Only, there seemed to be some hack marks on it. The tree was hacked to the point of becoming crooked.”
Even so, that is not an explanation for why this tree is placed at the central square of the Imperial Palace, right?
“There is no point in us talking about it here. Why don’t we head there to check it out,” Miao Yan stood up.
Chen Xiaolian thought about it and agreed. “That is good too. There is not much time left. We will go to the square to investigate; perhaps we will find some clues.”
As they stood up, Chen Xiaolian glanced at Soo Soo and hesitated. He had originally wanted to leave Soo Soo within this safety zone. Pondering about it though, Soo Soo may not be willing. Additionally, he was unable to be at ease about it. Thus, he decided to drop the idea.
They moved out of the Water De room and spent a few moments walking through the corridor. This time, they were fortunate and did not encounter any terracotta soldiers. After passing through two corridors, they reached the side palace building’s veranda. There, they saw a passageway before them. As for the main hall of the side palace building, it was decorated with several wares. There were also several bronze sculptures of defenders.
Chen Xiaolian looked at it and suddenly moved over. He picked up the spear within the arms of a bronze statue and weighed it in his hands. He smiled. “Not bad, we can use it as weapons for self-defence.”
Miao Yan’s eyes flashed and she too went forward to grab one.
Nangong observed the two of them and threw down the broken stone spear in his hands. He picked up a shield held by one of the bronze statues. As for Lun Tai and Bei Tai, they each found a bronze censer, which they held in their hands.
“This damnable instance dungeon really ticks people off. Our own metals objects are not allowed inside, and yet they place these bronze weapons inside.”
Lun Tai complained. Chen Xiaolian nodded inwardly but said nothing.
They continued moving forward and reached the gates of the side palace building. As they were about to push open the gates, they saw two figures coming out from another passage.
Qiu Yun and Alice were walking side by side. Qiu Yun’s hair was dishevelled and was looking somewhat miserable. Bloodstains could be seen upon his lips. As for Alice, she was panting and limping as she walked.
As the two of them caught sight of Chen Xiaolian, they were surprised. Then, seeing that Chen Xiaolian was with Nangong, Qiu Yun’s face eased a little. He smiled bitterly. “Xiaolian, I did not expect you to still be alive. I assumed that you have died.”
Chen Xiaolian sighed. “Guild Leader Qiu Yun, I was lucky. I only fell into a trap room. How did you get here?”
“It is a long story,” Qiu Yun thought before shaking his head. “At any rate, it was an arduous journey. It would take a long time to describe and is quite frankly not worth mentioning.”
He turned to Nangong and nodded his head. “Guild Leader Nangong.”
“Guild Leader Qiu Yun,” Nangong’s expression seemed somewhat peculiar.
“This time, it appears that we will really have to cooperate,” Qiu Yun gave a soft smile. “Does our agreement from yesterday still hold?”
“Haha! Of course it is still valid!” Nangong immediately said. “With a master like Guild Leader Qiu Yun lending a hand, I will have less to worry about.”
“You are exaggerating, Guild Leader Nangong. Your strength stands out from the rest and I can only be an accessory.”
After the two of them spoke out, Miao Yan who was at the side became impatient. She knitted her brows. “Is there any meaning in you two blowing each other? Going to the square takes precedence. Any idle talks can wait until we walk out of here with our lives!”
Nangong’s face turned red; Qiu Yun turned to regard Miao Yan. “Guild Leader Nangong, this is your new guild member? She has a very young face.”
“No way! This one here is not a member of my Nangong Guild. She is a master that we encountered along the way. If not for her help earlier, I fear that our bodies would have been refreshed by now.”
Qiu Yun’s expression turned somewhat peculiar and he turned to gaze at Miao Yan again.
“Let us go. This is not the place to talk,” Chen Xiaolian placed the bronze pole arm on his shoulders.
Miao Yan merely stood by Chen Xiaolian’s side, not showing any interest in speaking to Qiu Yun or Alice. Her expression was one of haughtiness. It was as though the words ‘Strangers Keep Out’ were written on her face.
Chen Xiaolian and Qiu Yun walked together for a while. Seeing the bloodstains on Qiu Yun’s lips, Chen Xiaolian asked. “You are hurt?”
Qiu Yun nodded his head and softly smiled. He did not say anything but asked instead. “Are you all right?”
“I was lucky,” Chen Xiaolian pursed his lips to the side.
Their group which now consisted of 8 people pushed open the heavy gates of the side palace building and saw a wide step of stairs spreading out before them. The distance between the great hall’s stone platform and the ground was about 7 to 8 metres. Going down the stairs, they reached a huge square shaped open area.
For Chen Xiaolian who had visited the Forbidden City, he felt that this square was even more imposing compared to the central square between the Three Halls of the Forbidden City .
The four-sided square area has a flat surface and black stone tiles were arranged to fit seamlessly.
Most noticeable of all was the area below the stairs from the main palace building where 12 bronze men were placed!
They were divided into two sides, with six on each side.
The mouldings of the bronze men were finely done, but the faces were ambiguous. The only feeling they could feel off it was that it was big!
Raising their heads, they could see that these bronze men have a height of over 10 metres. They were as tall as a three storeyed building. The two lines of bronze men stood in the middle of the square, giving off an imposing atmosphere!
Located just opposite of the great hall…
Was indeed a tree.
This tree was in no way short, with a height of 7 to 8 metres. It has almost the same height as the great hall’s stone and rammed earth walls. The crown of the tree was bare and filled with a deep aura of death, not a trace of life was visible.
And yet, it had grown into a very robust state.
Chen Xiaolian walked over, looking over at the big tree several times. He then saw the considerable hack marks on the tree. Extending his hand, he examined them and felt that it was cold to the touch!
Qiu Yun and Miao Yan walked over. Standing beside Chen Xiaolian, Miao Yan whispered. “Hey, Xiaolian. Don’t you know a lot about history? What is the origin of this great hall’s bronze men and tree?”
Chen Xiaolian stroked his nose and gave a bitter smile. “The 12 bronze men are not that hard to explain…”
With a few words, he explained the origins of those 12 bronze men. Then, he pointed at the big tree and forced a smile. “As for this thing, I have no way of explaining it… in this world, which Imperial Palace would plant a big tree outside its great hall? Through the ages, the need to prevent assassins made it so that the Imperial Palace would not allow trees to be planted near the sleeping chambers and main halls for fear that assassins would hide in them.
Additionally, this tree here is all bare. It does not look scenic at all.”
Alice suddenly shouted. Qiu Yun turned around to see Alice coming over from the 12 bronze men area. She quickly said. “These bronze men… have many marks on them. All the marks were the results of hacking!”
Chen Xiaolian’s heart tensed up and a train of thought suddenly flashed through his mind!
He subconsciously blurted out. “I understand now!”
1 Gold and bronze are both metals.↩
2 Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony and Hall of Preserving Harmony, the three halls constitute the heart of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. [Source: Wiki].↩