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Honorable mention – Firstblood116

The Winds of Heaven Blow to the East, then to the West

Who among the three realms can be said to understand the Heavens?

If my life is dictated by fate, then why act? If there is no fate, why act?

Dong Fenxi returned to his room with his fists tightly clenched, and his jaw fastened tightly shut.

“For forty five years I, Dong Fenxi, have served the Eastern family as a priest, studying the ancient scriptures and have been at the royal family’s beck and call. It was I who was named the legacy apprentice to the high priest over twenty years ago. Then after all these years of service Eastern Lu names Long Lizheng the new high priest?! “

“Pressured by the Long family he says?”

“Am I without eyes?”

“Clearly you still blame me for your daughter’s ailment. I made no mistakes when I helped your wife give birth, so how can you blame me for the Heavens will?! By throwing me aside you’ve thrown Heaven aside. No matter what happens in the future you will certainly taste the fate of those rejected by Heaven!” Dong Fenxi hissed in his room.

Dong Fenxi recalled how the Long child looked at him smugly and then given him false words of kindness after being appointed to high priest. “The winds of Heavens blow fortune to the east, then to the west, though today I receive benefit, it will no doubt be your turn soon brother Fenxi.” Long Lizheng had said smiling.

“Blowing fortune to the east, then to the west?” Dong Fenxi sneered. “Even children know that people will have good fortune and misfortune at different times in their lives. Could you perhaps not make us priests look like hacks that speak without saying anything? Brother? If I blind folded you, beat you till you called me daddy, then left you in the temple library, would you be able to find your way out? Yet you call me Brother? If you didn’t have such a strong backer than you wouldn’t have been allowed to be an alter boy!” Dong Fenxi bellowed.

“Fine fine fine.” three fines Dong Fenxi muttered to himself. “So brother Lizheng, your first task as high priest will be to lead the Rites of Heavenly Worship? Eastern Lu no doubt expects perfection from you in this regard, if any disturbance occurred you might be the cause of his daughter’s death. Surely it would be a shame if one of the young dukes screwed up the Rites. Eastern Lu might not have cause to blame you, and yet the Heavens are out of his reach.” At this point Dong Fenxi finally relaxed his fists and smiled.

Over the next few days Dong Fenxi was busy running around setting up for the Rites of Heavenly Worship. Throughout the temple people could hear him answering high priest Long Lizheng’s requests with “Yes high priest” or “I’m on it high priest”. The onlookers who had been gossiping about priest Dong Fenxi’s misfortune were taken aback by Dong Fenxi’s character. The most senior elder in the temple taking orders from a priest half his age and yet he spoke with respect and a smile. Some of the onlookers even felt that this was how a priest should conduct- himself. How can someone be humble towards the Heavens if they can not be humble towards others? Eastern Lu had even heard rumors about how well Dong Fenxi was getting on and momentarily regretted not making him high priest. However when Eastern Lu recalled that Long Zhaofeng had asked him to make Long Lizheng the high priest as a favor to the first duke household he let the feeling of regret pass.

A few days passed and finally tomorrow was the day of the Rites of Heavenly Worship. Dong Fenxi had worked hard to put on the airs of being satisfied with Long Lizheng being the high priest. It was harder than he thought, Long Lizheng had screwed up the amount of rows of prayer mats, there would have only been room for 99 of the Eastern kingdom nobles instead of 108 if he hadn’t double checked every thing that Long Lizheng touched. Luckily Long Lizheng was lazy and had ordered Dong Fenxi to do most of the work.

“Brother Fenxi, is everything ready for tomorrow?” Long Lizheng asked Dong Fenxi.

Dong Fenxi smiled at Long Lizheng. “Yes brother Lizheng, there is only one last thing to be done, and I’m off to do it now.” Dong Fenxi said.

Long Lizheng raised an eyebrow at this. “Whatever, finish up quickly.” Long Lizheng said as he turned to leave. Dong Fenxi bowed as Long Lizheng walked away. Just as Dong Fenxi turned and was about to head out, Long Lizheng called back to him. “High priest.” he said flatly. Dong Fenxi scrunched his eyebrows as he looked back at Long Lizheng clearly confused. “You called me brother Lizheng a moment ago, it’s not a big deal when its just the two of us but make sure you address me as high priest in front of others.” Long Lizheng said. Dong Fenxi froze for two seconds. He was a nine meridian advanced true qi practitioner, it would be simple for him to murder Long Lizheng before he had time to call him daddy. But… there would be no way to escape the Long family’s influence, even without the corpse of Long Lizheng the Long family would still find a way to make the charge of murder stick. After all he had more motive than anyone else. After those two seconds passed he smiled at Long Lizheng, bowed again, and left the temple without saying anything. He had lost count of how many times he had daydreamed of killing Long Lizheng at this point.

Dong Fenxi went to pay a visit to three restaurant’s that night, the Lotus Garden, the Jade Moon, and the Autumn Crane. Dong Fenxi knew that at least 90% of the young dukes would eat breakfast in these three restaurant’s, so he used his authority as a temple priest to convince the owners of the restaurant’s that Eastern Lu and high priest Long Lizheng wanted a holy ingredient added to meals of all the young dukes tomorrow morning. “It’s a refined plant that will bring out the holiness in ones body for a short time! Don’t worry about the young dukes complaining about the flavor, it’s tasteless!” Dong Fenxi said. Though the Lotus Garden and the Autumn Crane owners both agreed because it was asked by one of the highest priests of the temple, it was also a request from Eastern Lu! If they turned it down they would be saying they don’t care about the face of the King at all. The last restaurant, the owner of the Jade Moon was a little skeptical. Dong Fenxi simply told him to add some to his meal that night and see if he could taste it. After confirming that there was no taste, and he wouldn’t be inadvertently losing the business of the young dukes, he agreed. Though that night he did actually feel better, maybe even more holy, he also lamented that he seemed to be suffering from bad gas.

Dong Fenxi walked back to his home, with a smug smile on his face. Dong Fenxi was definitely not tasked by Eastern Lu or Long Lizheng with delivering any holy ingredient. No, what he had given the restaurant owners was Three Laugh Powder, a cheap medicine that cleared up the internal passages of the body, this resulted in people expelling gas one way or another. If this happened during the Rites of Heavenly Worship, then Long Lizheng would definitely face some admonishment from Eastern Lu. However, truthfully Dong Fenxi wasn’t 100% confident in his plan, the Three Laugh Powder though having the effect of forcing someone to expel gas was not a super medicine that could take control over someone with intermediate level true qi, and by this point almost all the young dukes would surely be at the intermediate level of true qi, otherwise they would face failure in the hidden dragon trials.

Dong Fenxi’s hope was that there was some truly talent-less fools in the this group of young dukes, as long as a few of the 108 young dukes were still in the initial level of true qi, then the Three Laugh Powder would likely force one of them to expel gas during the Rites of Heavenly Worship. Dong Fenxi wasn’t too concerned about there being no talent-less fools, he had even heard rumors of a young duke of the second rank who was still at initial level true qi, and there was always a couple young dukes that lost their dukedoms during the hidden dragon trials because of not reaching intermediate level true qi. Dong Fenxi was 80 or 90 percent sure that some fool would interrupt the Rites of Heavenly Worship, and if by chance all the young dukes reached intermediate level true qi or were lucky and had the Three Laugh Powder expel the gas before the start of the Rites of Heavenly Worship, then Dong Fenxi could laugh to himself and say that the Heavens truly wanted Long Lizheng to be high priest.

Dong Fenxi waited patiently all day, the Rites of Heavenly Worship had started and had so far gone off without a hitch, he smiled to himself as he prayed to the Heavens. “What have I been doing these few days? Is it truly a big deal if I work for this fool of a high priest? In time his inadequacies will surely come to light either way. I’ve shamed myself greatly. I thank the Heavens for guiding me through these events. I was even willing to let some young duke suffer Eastern Lu’s rage for my own goals.” Dong Fenxi said to himself.

Who can be said to understand the Heavens?

Pfffppppphhhhhhht-toot. Just as Dong Fenxi came to peace with his situation a loud fart broke the silence of the Rites of Heavenly Worship.

Jiang Chen’s regrettable fart was smelly and long. It was an affront to the gods! The high priest in charge of the rite’s proceedings was appalled and started cursing loudly, as if the fart had destroyed the pillar of the world and was causing the sky to cave in.

This aroused the great wrath of King Eastern Lu, as he doted on his beloved daughter so, and he called for the guards to drag Jiang Chen away and beat him to death! As the guards carried Jiang Chen away King Eastern Lu turned and stared daggers are high priest Long Lizheng. “Thi-This can’t be blamed on me your highness.” Long Lizheng said stuttering. “If you cannot be held accountable for the events that occur in this temple then maybe I’ll find a high priest who can.” King Eastern Lu said before turning and stomping away from Long Lizheng.

Dong Fenxi watched Jiang Chen screaming as he was being beaten to by the guards, screaming for mercy. King Eastern Lu stomped all the way over to Dong Fenxi. “This King has made a grave mistake, I hope you will accept my apologizes and will take over as high priest after today.” King Eastern Lu said to Dong Fenxi. Dong Fenxi turned his head to King Eastern Lu but kept his eyes on Jiang Chen who was now moaning for mercy but no longer struggling and smiled and nodded his head. King Eastern Lu, took the nod as agreement and walked off ignoring the dukes holding back Jiang Chen’s father who was also calling for mercy.

High priest Dong Fenxi finally closed his eyes once Jiang Chen was finally dead. He was silent for a few moments. Then said quietly under his breathe. “ The winds of Heavens blow fortune to the east, then to the west, though today I receive benefit, it will no doubt be your turn soon brother Chen.” Dong Fenxi sighed deeply and walked back inside the temple. His first act as high priest was expelling Long Lizheng because Long Lizheng didn’t address him as high priest. Not to long later he received word that Jiang Chen was still alive and was claiming to have received divine guidance that could help the Princess’s ailment. When the person who delivered the message to Dong Fenxi was recounting the story later, he made mention of how the high priest had started laughing so hard that he fell on to the floor, and hadn’t stopped laughing for over a minute!

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