Chapter 123: Master of the Emperor Armament (1)
Thud… A bullet accurately fired into Xu Yangyi’s shoulder. At the same time, Liu Shuren seemed to just realize this and uttered not a second word as he jumped behind the sofa.
“How long until it spreads?!” Captain Wang didn’t open the door. The tranquilizer gun still needed ten-odd seconds to take effect. If other people saw that the police were arresting someone… they wouldn’t even have to think about ruining their reputation. By taking advantage of Xu Yangyi’s unconsciousness, they could bring him to that sire.
“Ten seconds!” The vice captain looked at his watch and confirmed. However, in the next second, they all stared blankly.
Jingle… It was sweet-sounding, but in their ears it was like a devil pressing the doorbell! This… was the sound of the bullet falling to the floor! Yet this sound didn’t come from a bulletproof vest… A bulletproof vest that could bounce a bullet back with such awesome flexibility had never existed. Captain Wang’s mouth was agape. Looking through the monitoring device from outside, his expression was terribly shook.
That’s the sound of a bullet rebounding off skin! Is this even fucking human?! No, no! He immediately overruled this preposterous thought. This was fundamentally impossible! How could human skin block a bullet?!
“Fuck me…” A police officer could no longer maintain his standing position, his voice unsteady. “A monster… This is a monster!”
Outside the door, Liu Shuren was likewise dumbfounded. This doesn’t make any sense! D-Does something like this really exist on Earth?
Xu Yangyi sighed softly and rubbed his chin. He really was disinclined to bicker with mortals. “Everyone, that’s good enough. I’ll act as if this gun business didn’t happen. If there’s a next time…”
He lightly flicked his thumb and casually swept an eye at the door. In the next second, the door loudly transformed into rubble! Shards went flying everywhere! Behind the door’s remains, five police officers were revealed, their eyes wide and their tongues tied like wooden carvings.
It was morbidly quiet, deathly silent. Everyone was astonished, only a single thought on their minds. How could such a human exist? Wasn’t this a superhuman? Invulnerable to both sword and spear? Was this a Master Zhang movie? Or X-Men? 
What the gun had destroyed wasn’t a door, but rather everyone’s confidence.
“Got it?” Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes. If they still dared to raise their guns, he really wouldn’t mind giving them a few unforgettable lessons.
“Got it…” After several seconds, everyone answered softly, their voices nearly in concert.
Xu Yangyi slightly nodded and smiled as he looked at Liu Shuren. “Right now, I want us to have a nice talk.”
Liu Shuren’s lips trembled, and he soundlessly nodded. The duo walked up stairs. With a crisp finger-snap, the sound around them was completely isolated. Xu Yangyi prudently undid a shirt button and took out the Emperor Armament that was hanging on his neck. Placing it in his hand, he said deeply, “I don’t want to bother with the business from before. Right now, I ask, you answer.”
Xu Yangyi was quite pleased regarding Liu Shuren’s adaptability. “First of all, I know this is an emperor’s item. Moreover, it was an extremely important item to him. The first question is from which dynasty did it originate.”
“The Ming dynasty.” Saying these words, Liu Shuren’s complexion was somewhat flushed, but he firmly restrained himself. He understood a true superhuman stood before him. “However… I can’t judge the specific period and which emperor it belonged to.”
“Why?” Xu Yangyi calmly picked up a teacup, pursed it to his lips, and asked.
“You’re known as China’s most famous Ming-era historical expert. You seriously can’t figure it out?”
“Sir!” Liu Shuren gritted his teeth, his temples throbbing a few times. Indeed, he couldn’t imagine that he could surprisingly study such an item! The first time he analyzed it, he understood that he’d possibly encountered a serious relic!
“It’s not that I didn’t give it my best, but… this box’s time period can’t be exactly determined!” Liu Shuren licked his lips, the hot blood of an archaeologist beginning to boil in his heart. “This chest… I was able to infer that it was forged around 1600 to 1627. However… I just can’t figure out its composition!”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze flashed. “What does that mean?”
“It’s precisely that!” Liu Shuren’s breathing was fairly rushed. “The material used to cast this chest doesn’t belong to any metal already known to the human world! It’s not gold, and it’s not silver, copper, or iron, either! It doesn’t belong to any known metals! Sir, such a valuable treasure should be handed over to the country…”
His proceeding words left no trace in Xu Yangyi’s apathetic eyes, and he forcibly swallowed.
“Don’t read so many tomb-raider fictions, Expert Liu.” Xu Yangyi laughed as he set down his teacup and raised his chin. “Even though the material can’t be identified, can who owned it be?”
“It’s hard…” Just as Liu Shuren was bubbling with excitement, he was doused over his head with a basin of cold water. He laughed wryly, “Cutting it down to these thirty years was already my meticulous study of this chest for almost two years; there’s a limit. This is because in these three decades, the Ming dynasty experienced three emperors…”
“Ming Shenzong, Ming Guangzong, and Ming Xizong. In China’s history, this is one of the eras with the most frequent succession of emperors…” His words were interrupted by the furrowing of Xu Yangyi’s brows.
“I want a result.”
“Sure, Mr. Gao. Sir, you see, the engraving and casting method of this chest is archetypical of the later Imperial Ming Clan style. Apart from these four holes on it, there are hidden marks of nine dragons. This moreover indicates that this should be an item personally used by an emperor himself…”
Xu Yangyi didn’t speak. Jadewave’s decryption hadn’t been fully completed and had left behind this riddle. Now, he desired to obtain the final answer for this puzzle! In the end, which emperor did this chest belong to? Who was it that held a Millennium Grudge to cast this Animus Armament? And furthermore suffered the Xuan-Yuan Sword’s ambush?
“Sir… you look upon history’s first riddle… and also one of the greatest puzzles!” Liu Shuren tremblingly picked up the small box, but because he was too nervous and excited, his hand shook a few good times and didn’t bring it up.
After he took hold of the box, his eyes were somewhat bloodshot. Picking up a cup of warm water, his hand trembled in such a manner that it lacked form, spilling drops of water onto the box.
Xu Yangyi’s gaze was devoid of the slightest emotion, but in the next moment, his pupils suddenly needled! The chest itself was a gold color and carried a dark-red trace. It seemed to recount the irreconciliation of this emperor, but after a drop of water fell on its surface, a visible red layer immediately dispersed as if an invisible veil had been shed!
“You see! Look! This is…” Liu Shuren’s voice yet to fall, a hand was already pressed on top of his. He lifted his head in astonishment and immediately saw Xu Yangyi’s icy gaze.
“Did you tell anyone else?”
Liu Shuren’s Adam’s apple harshly bobbed up and down, and he shook his head in a naturally obedient manner. Only then did Xu Yangyi release Liu Shuren’s hand and use a finger to gently tap the back of this hand. “You’ve done well.”
“Then tell me now, what’s this?”
When discussing a topic of his expertise, Liu Shuren’s gaze couldn’t help but start heating up, and he hissed out, “It’s cinnabar!” 
“In pill concoction, the ancients would all add this material. No matter whether it’s ‘The Master Who Embraces Simplicity’ or ‘The Harmony of the Trium’, all of them have recorded this compound in detail! I shaved off a bit and made an examination. This is definitely cinnabar, no doubt about it!” Liu Shuren’s gaze carried a wisp of excited zealotry. “In the Ming Palace, the emperor’s personal item that possibly used cinnabar was between 1620 to 1627. The most famous, unsurpassed…” 
“The Case of the Red Pills!” Before Liu Shuren finished speaking, Xu Yangyi had already blurted out a response, unable to restrain himself.
It’s him? Ming Guangzong?
The famous “One-Month Emperor”! Rated in history as one of the most sorrowful emperors! He ascended the throne in August of 1620 and met his demise in the same month! He had died to a pill of immortality! History appellated it as the Case of the Red Pills, one of the “Three Great Cases of the Ming Palace”!
Even if Xu Yangyi wasn’t familiar with history, the great name of the Red Pills Case was a matter that very few people hadn’t heard of. His thoughts began to cycle at lightning speed, but he felt this matter to be somewhat incredulous at the same time.
During the Ming dynasty, emperors who were obsessed with Daoism were a common occurrence, and the number of emperors who took “immortality pills” were many. As for Ming Guangzong, he was the One-Month Emperor who died to “immortality pills”.
Not only this… seven years later, his son Ming Xizong, his personal name Zhu Youxiao, also died to “immortality pills”! The Animus Armament, the only one in 5,000 years, wasn’t congealed from any illustrious sage or among the three eternal emperors: Emperor Qin, Emperor Wu, or Tang Taizong. On the contrary, it was condensed from the most tragic emperor in history? Nonetheless… 
Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes. What was the matter concerning the Xuan-Yuan Sword’s sword-light? What was this chest telling him? If said that the Animus Armament truly was congealed by Ming Guangzong, then… this item involved with the eternally shocking Red Pills Case was far from the simplicity of historical record.
There was something within the book pages… quietly continuing to be covered up beneath the stylistic calligraphy of the Spring and Autumn Period… 
Had Ming Guangzong truly not died to the Red Pills Case? But rather because he was involved with an ancient cultivator’s secret, his life had been cruelly reaped by a slash of the Xuan-Yuan Sword? Just as this thought ascended, it firmly took root within Xu Yangyi’s brain without due process!
If that’s how it is… Xu Yangyi mumbled to himself as he stroked his chin. In that case, he had a rough theory regarding what this chest wanted to inform him about. The truth of that year… and whatever world-shaking secret Ming Guangzong knew, the truth that couldn’t take place in the annals of history and had brought the wielder of an Umbran Armament to slay him in spite of heavenly law.
This was merely a guess, and Xu Yangyi forced down his fluctuating emotions. He cautiously looked over at the half-chest. If this chest truly belonged to Ming Guangzong, then wouldn’t it be him speaking…?
“Mr. Gao, if your information is true, this chest… quite possibly played a role with the red pills back then! It’s the red pills’ chest that caused Ming Guangzong’s death!” Liu Shuren’s eyes radiated light as he stared at Xu Yangyi. This might’ve been the most audacious hypothesis he made in his entire life. He wanted to obtain Xu Yangyi’s acknowledgement.
However, Xu Yangyi himself was no fanatic regarding history. Currently, the first riddle might’ve been unraveled, but right now, the most fitting master of the Animus Armament was perhaps Ming Guangzong. However, this emperor’s death was perhaps not so simple at all.
In the long river of history, something was being concealed with the utmost might and effort. A Millennium Grudge has crossed through centuries to choose him; what did it wish to tell? What was the heaven-shocking secret that had delivered an emperor to death?
Not only was it the imperial powers of then… perhaps there were some immortal sects of the Ming dynasty that had also participated in this scheme.
Xu Yangyi massaged the area between his brows. The Emperor Armament seemed simple, but it was in fact a colossal riddle. Each time he believed himself to be on the verge of solving the truth, it merely raised another corner of the secret at the same time.
1. Two notes here. Master Zhang is referring to the famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou. In the west, most recent movie he directed was The Great Wall. Fun fact: in Chinese, X-Men is X战警, which literally translates to X-Battle Police.
4. In China’s history these three are considered the greatest emperors. Too much to get into, but I’ll leave behind their full names for you to research and some info about each of them. Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor to unify all of China. It was him that created the Chinese word for “emperor”. Emperor Wu of Han, he was known for his military conquests that captured large swaths of land and expanded China to as far as Kyrgyzstan and Korea and Northern Vietnam. Emperor Tang Taizong is known to have ushered the most prosperous golden age of China.
And part of the truth finally reveals itself. When I first read this chapter, it was a pretty mind = blown moment. I usually leave my footnotes to do most of my talking, but what I want to talk about impacts the story and is factually important. I will first state that Ming Guangzong, like most figures talked about in this story, is a real emperor. If you look him up though, be mindful that Ming Guangzong is his "temple name", a name that is given posthumously to an emperor which is based on information such as the name of the dynasty/an adjective used to describe his reign/and whether he is a founder of the dynasty or part of the lineage in general. He was also known as the Taichang Emperor. IF you choose to wikipedia him, you WILL find out a lot more, including the Case of the Red Pills. And quite frankly, based on all the research I do + translating, it's a lot of work to go into/time investment. So please, I invite you to do some reading on your own.